The night dragged on. House political leaders from both sides of the aisle weighed in as midnight approached, both trying to put their best spin on a bad situation.
Wall Street will weigh in at 09:30 EDT today. It won't be pretty.
I've heard the newsie spin: Oh, national parks will be shut down, museums in Washington will close, but life will pretty much go on.
Let me give you an insiders perspective.
The GSA, the wing of the government that basically controls all government contracts and buildings, will be (for all intents and purposes) shuttered. No big deal, right? Wrong. The GSA holds the maintenance and operations contract for literally every federal facility in the US - including courts, office space for most government agencies, and general purchasing authority for most government agencies outside of DOD.
The Social Security Administration distributes benefits to millions of retirees and disabled Americans. The party line is that checks will still go out to those entitled. But who is going to be pushing the buttons that issue the checks? Who is going to be tending to the vast network of computers and programs that make this complicated process happen?
No one. They're all furloughed as of tomorrow morning.
Now, many of you may have never been through a strike, where "management" tries to keep the wheels on the bus while the rank and file walk the picket line. It never works out well, and that's why the rank and file eventually come back to work. Your congressman (and probably you) have no idea how much coordination it takes to do something as simple as issue a payment to a government contractor / vendor to run a cafeteria in a federal building. Or scrub the toilets at night.
Think for a moment about the complexity of the interlocking wheels that have to turn in order to keep a multi-thousand person regional SSA office open to process benefits. Starting today, it doesn't happen, regardless of the promises being made by the various politicians and jihadi's involved in this shutdown.
Building projects will come to a halt. Urinals won't be scrubbed. Air conditioning systems won't be maintained. Vast computer networks that churn out government payments to all vendors and beneficiary recipients may or may not be tended to, and may or may not work, despite the assurances of officials.
Make no mistake about it: this country is grinding to a halt today. You might not see the direct impact for a few days or weeks, unless you're an old person or a veteran in need of assistance. Or maybe a mother needing to buy food for the week. Or a gas station operator who no longer sees government vehicles lining up to gas up for the day's motor pool dispatching.
I keep seeing comparisons to the 1996 shutdown. The world, and interconnected nature of the U.S. government, as well as the overall political climate has changed so much since 1996 that the comparisons border on laughable.
The jihadi wing of a major political party has taken the country hostage tonight.
How are you impacted? What's your plan? Where do your concerns land over the next couple of weeks? Because I promise you, this is the start of something much, much bigger. The debt ceiling is weeks away, and the GOP has already printed the ransom notes for that. If the budget and debt ceiling collide in an unresolved political supernova, the impact to the American economy will be incalculable to you, your family, friends and neighbors.
Maybe that's what the GOP jihadis want. Ok, so, we'll see where the situation leads from there.
Political posturing has never scared me. But right now, thinking about all of the interlocking gears and moving parts of government, the American people have reason to be very, very concerned.
I'm usually an optimist, but this time, not so much. I fear that even most progressives on Dkos don't understand how bad this really, really is. The GOP jihadis pulled the pin on the grenade, and there ain't no diffusing that sucker at this point.