5 Ways the Government Shutdown Was Just Like Being Back in College
Since Washington, D.C. seems poised to continue the pattern of governing from crisis to crisis, I thought both sides could use some help from the best demographic in the world at getting things done at the last minute.
Here's a handy guide for procrastinating effectively. You're welcome.
Remember the big picture: You. Only. Live. Once.
Washington, D.C. just passed a measure funding the U.S. government through January 15, 2014. Whew! Since impending fiscal doom has been delayed for a few more months, you've got a little bit of a break. Democrats and Republicans aren't going to agree on any major tax or spending issues anytime soon (the last time the tax code was restructured was 1986), which means politicians can focus on attending ribbon cuttings, awarding honorary medals, and naming things after themselves.
2. Pray for an extension.
More time, more time, more time. Ahhhhhh.
When the next debt crisis is only a few weeks away, it's time to schedule a series of emergency meetings, followed by a series of emergency press conferences, followed by a series of emergency votes (that you know will fail). It's way too late to pass legislation that addresses the national debt in a responsible and comprehensive way, so the best thing you can do is buy some time and hope that the other side bails you out by blinking first. This is called "brinkmanship." Remember, it worked for the U.S. during the Cold War, so you're following historical president here.
While you wait, pretend that you're working really hard behind the scenes to get something done. It doesn't matter if your meetings at the White House are just excuses to drink single malt scotch from the Revolutionary War. Pretending that you're doing something will make you less likely to look like the lazy, ineffectual ass you are.
3. Freak out and point fingers.
You didn't get an extension. You're going to miss your deadline. Oops.
Have your office draft a press release for you. When doing this avoid saying anything specific. You're going for vague, here. Blame the current situation on "House Republicans," "Senate Democrats," or even better "Washington, D.C." (this way it's not only your fault, but the fault of 600,000 local residents as well).
4. Pull an all-nighter.
At this point if you don't pass legislation, something really bad is going to happen.
You know that whatever Congress passes will only prolong the larger problem, but that's okay. Remember, the S&P, Finch, and Moody's can only downgrade the United States' credit rating so far. At the end of the day, America has survived the Articles of Confederation, the Civil War, The Great Depression, and Civil Rights. You can't possibly sink the ship all by yourself, right?
5. Remember SWAG.
We'd all like to be the next Abraham Lincoln, but that's probably not going to happen. So don't worry about it.