Everyone is very nervous about whether or not the government will shut down. It’s like the end of Toy Story 3: if the giant, robotic claw of bipartisan compromise doesn’t come and swoop our heroes out of danger at the last minute, everyone will be engulfed in the all-consuming junkyard fire of government shutdown.
Enough metaphors. A Q & A, to bring you up to speed.
Q: Does this have to do with Planned Parenthood?
A: Yes, among other ironically titled organizations that receive some government funding.
Q: Would they be okay funding Planned Parenthood if it were willing to change its name to Unplanned Parenthood or Whoops! Babies But To Be Fair Mainly Other Female Health-Related Services?
A: Probably not, but I’m sure someone will bring it up during the down-to-the-wire last-minute negotiations.
Q: Where is this wire? Why does everything always come down to it?
A: I think it’s in Baltimore.
Q: So what is this Planned Parenthood place? Based on the description I have been hearing in the media, I assume that it is some sort of free abortion pinata.
A: It is not like that at all. People mainly go there for routine medical care and sometimes, fun, jazzy, exciting medical care that reminds them why they started getting medical care in the first place.
Q: Is it true that one in five women has been to Planned Parenthood?
A: Yes, which means that if you don’t know someone who has, it’s probably you!
Q: I really don’t think that’s how that statistic works.
A: Next question.
Q: Is the shutdown all about the budget?
A: I’ll answer that question with another, equally bi-partisan question: Is it not about Planned Parenthood?
Q: I would rather read something about Justin Bieber. Why don’t you write about Justin Bieber?
A: Like Samson, without his original haircut, Bieber is powerless to influence policy.
Q: Why is the government going to shut down?
A: It needs to install some updates. If you tell it not to shut down now, it will keep bugging you about it every 3 minutes and make it difficult for you to get any work done.
Q: Why can’t the government just go into sleep mode?
A: What are you, some kind of idiot who takes everything literally?
Q: Whose fault is this?
A: Everyone’s, but probably more the fault of people who disagree with you.
Q: If they can’t agree on something fundamentally noncontroversial like “providing enough funding to keep the government going,” what hope is there for more complicated policy issues?
A: Lots! No, I’m sorry, I meant, “None at all.”
Q: What will I notice most if the government shuts down?
A: Probably the constant 24-7 media coverage of the shutdown. If not that, the aroma of the steaming pile of 6,000 people’s garbage on the steps of John Boehner’s home. Also, the zombies who are usually contained in a vault at the OMB, now unleashed and wandering the streets. Glen Weldon has more ideas.
Q: If the government shuts down, will you perform a live rendition of “Bang Bang My Baby Shut Me Down” with lyrics like, “I was Boehner and he was Reid/He was tea’d off and I was tea’d/He wore blue and I wore red/Who said bipartisanship was dead?/Bang bang, he shut me down/Bang bang, it wasn’t good/Bang bang, Planned Parenthood/Bang bang, my baby shut me down”?
A: Probably not, but let’s see what the future holds.