Skip to main content

Is shutdown a sorry spectacle, or shock treatment?

updated 12:09 PM EDT, Sat October 5, 2013
HIDE CAPTION
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
14 ways the shutdown affects you
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN commentators assess the impact and causes of the government shutdown
  • Frida Ghitis: The spectacle is baffling to America's friends, encouraging to its enemies
  • David Gergen: The shutdown is bad, but could have a silver lining if it forestalls default
  • Matt Welch: As in the past, we'll survive the shutdown without lasting effects

(CNN) -- Since the start of the government shutdown October 1, analysts, journalists and experts have been sorting through the claims of Republicans and Democrats about the underlying issues in the budget dispute. Here's a sampling of pieces published by CNN Opinion:

Frida Ghitis
Frida Ghitis

Frida Ghitis: World baffled by America's self-inflicted wound

America's enemies must be laughing. But most of the world is just baffled, mystified at the sight of the world's most powerful country tangled in a crippling web of its own making. The government shutdown is weakening the United States before its allies and its foes. It is eroding American standing and prestige while reducing American power and influence. The democracy that once inspired the world now leaves observers perplexed. Read more

Bob Greene
Bob Greene

Bob Greene: Taxpayers, you deserve your money back

If we had paid for an airline ticket, and in the middle of our trip the airline informed us that one leg of our journey had been canceled, we would justifiably demand a refund. If we ordered an annual subscription to 52 weeks of a magazine, and then, a few months into it, the magazine told us that its new policy was to publish only 26 issues a year, we would, with good reason, ask for half of our money back. If we paid for a one-year membership in a health club, and the club announced that it would have to close for repairs for three months, we would expect a 25% refund. So ... exactly when can we expect to see our refund checks from the federal government? Read more

David Gergen
David Gergen

David Gergen: Shutdown could be shock therapy

Yes, conservative hard-liners have chosen the wrong place to fight; arguments over Obamacare are no excuse to shut down the government. Yes, hard-liners like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, are creating deeper partisan divides. But Democrats can ill afford to continue rejecting any talks or negotiations. Now that the shutdown has happened, Obama has a fresh opportunity -- indeed a fresh responsibility -- to seize the mantle of leadership and get us out of this mess. Instead of just blaming the Republicans, he should call in the leaders of both parties and in Lyndon Johnson fashion, keep 'em talking till they get a deal. Read more

Marian Currinder
Marian Currinder
Josh Huder
Josh Huder

Marian Currinder and Josh Huder: Boehner's bad choices

No House speaker wants to go down in history for a legislative record opposed by the majority of his or her own party. And no speaker wants to go down in history for presiding over one of the most unproductive Congresses in history. But these are Boehner's choices.

While [former Speaker Dennis] Hastert relied on a majority of the majority, Boehner has had to rely on a minority of the majority, together with a majority of the minority, to pass important legislation. Read more

David Rothkopf
David Rothkopf

David Rothkopf: Where's the outrage?

The most stunning thing about this first shutdown of the U.S. government in almost two decades is the degree to which it is a nonevent, considered par for the course given the sad state of affairs in the nation's capital. Voters may be angry. They may be depressed. But there are no mass demonstrations. Congress' approval rating may have hit new lows, but beyond that, the response has been a shrug. Read more

Thomas Mann
Thomas Mann

Thomas Mann: GOP House can't claim to speak for America

The Affordable Care Act is law. End of story. The House Republicans' attempt to nullify a duly enacted law violates the norms of our constitutional system. It is reckless economically and an egregious affront to our democratic form of government. Read more

Matt Welch
Matt Welch

Matt Welch: Government shutdown is nothing to worry about

So when President Barack Obama says the shutdown will "throw a wrench into the gears of our economy" and put "the American people's hard-earned progress at risk," it is appropriate to treat such claims with skepticism. As we saw during the run-up to the March 1 sequestration trims in federal spending, politicians are incentivized by self-interest and unconstrained by shame in maximizing the hyperbole about what may happen if their ability to collect and redistribute our money is impeded even a little bit. Read more

Theresa Pierno
Theresa Pierno

Theresa Pierno: Parks take the hit for Congress' failure

The closure of America's crown jewels threatens the livelihood of park businesses, gateway communities and the American families within them, whose economies rely on national parks being open for business. Families, school groups and tourists from around the world who have made plans to visit and enjoy our national heritage will face disappointment. Bar Harbor, Maine, adjacent to Acadia National Park, attracts nearly 10,000 visitors daily in October. The loss of these visitors could be shattering to a community that relies on that final flush of tourism dollars before the steep drop-off in winter...The federal government shutdown has made a bad situation even worse for our national parks. Over the past three years, the National Park Service's budget has been cut by 13%, or about $315 million. Read more

Dean Obeidallah
Dean Obeidallah

Dean Obeidallah: 10% of Americans like Congress -- are they nuts?

When you think that 10% of Americans believe Congress is doing a good job, you have to ask yourself one question: Who are these people?...Congress is so dysfunctional that dictators in other countries are probably pointing at it as an example of why you should never have a democracy. Yet, somehow, about 30 million Americans are looking at what Congress is doing and thinking: "I like what I see." If you actually think Congress is doing a good job, something is terribly awry in your life. People in your family need to stage an immediate intervention. Read more

Meg Urry
Meg Urry

Meg Urry: NASA shutdown a blow to science

Scientists at NASA and the National Science Foundation are some of the hardest-working people I know. The government shutdown means they are forbidden to do any work. They can't take their laptops home or phone into teleconferences from home, the way I might if a hurricane or snowstorm threatened Yale. So, you might think they are having a nice (though unpaid) vacation. But actually, the same work is sitting on their desk when they get back, and it all has to get done. So it means they'll work longer hours to catch up and for most civil servant scientists, there is no such thing as overtime pay. Read more

Follow us on Twitter: @CNNOpinion.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of the authors.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 3:47 PM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Julian Zelizer says Jimmy Carter's message about the need to restore trust in public officials is a vital one, decades after the now 90-year-old he first voiced it
updated 5:56 PM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Ford Vox says mistakes and missed opportunities along the line to a diagnosis of Ebola in a Liberian man have put Dallas residents at risk of fatal infection
updated 6:21 PM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Pepper Schwartz says California is trying, but its law requiring step-by-step consent is just not the way hot and heavy sex proceeds on college campuses
updated 10:17 PM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Mike Downey says long-suffering fans, waiting for good playoff news since 1985, finally get something to cheer about
updated 5:39 PM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Steve Israel saysJohn Boehner's Congress and the tea party will be remembered for shutting down government one year ago
updated 2:56 PM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Yep. You read the headline right, says Peter Bergen, writing on the new government that stresses national unity
updated 7:12 PM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Hong Kong's pro-democracy demonstrators are but the latest freedom group to be abandoned by the Obama administration, says Mike Gonzalez
updated 12:53 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Jeff Yang calls Ello a wakeup call to Facebook and Twitter, and a sign of hope for fast-rising upstarts Pinterest and Snapchat.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Paul Waldman says the Secret Service should examine its procedures to make sure there are no threats to the White House--but without losing the openness so valuable to democracy
updated 10:55 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Jesse Williams says the videotape and 911 call that resulted in police gunning down John Crawford at a Walmart reveals the fatal injustice of racial assumptions
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Mel Robbins says officials should drop the P.C. pose: The beheading in Oklahoma was not workplace violence. Plenty of evidence shows Alton Nolen was an admirer of ISIS.
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, William Piekos says..
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, writes William Piekos.
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits America, Madeleine Albright says a world roiled by conflict needs these two great democracies to commit to moving their partnership forward
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
John Sutter: Lake Providence, Louisiana, is the parish seat of the "most unequal place in America." And until somewhat recently, the poor side of town was invisible on Google Street View.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Julian Zelizer says in the run up to the 2016 election the party faces divisions on its approach to the U.S.'s place in the world
updated 10:19 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says Common Core supporters can't devise a new set of standards and then fail to effectively sell it.
updated 9:29 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Earlier this month, Kenyans commemorated the heinous attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
updated 2:59 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
David Wheeler says Colorado students are right to protest curriculum changes that downplays civil disobedience.
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Sally Kohn says when people click on hacked celebrity photos or ISIS videos, they are encouraging the bad guys.
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Loren Bunche says she walked by a homeless man every day and felt bad about it -- until one day she paused to get to know him
updated 9:32 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
ISIS grabs headlines on social media, but hateful speech is no match for moderate voices, says Nadia Oweidat.
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
A new report counts jihadists fighting globally. The verdict? The threat isn't that big, says Peter Bergen.
updated 5:37 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Ebola could become the biggest humanitarian disaster in a generation, writes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
updated 12:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
ISIS has shocked the world. But will releasing videos of executions backfire? Four experts give their take.
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Eric Holder kicked off his stormy tenure as attorney general with a challenge to the public that set tone for six turbulent years as top law-enforcement officer.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
LZ Granderson says Obama was elected as a war-ending change agent, not a leader who would leave behind for his successor new engagement in Iraq and Syria. Is he as disappointed as the rest of us?
updated 5:10 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
Gayle Lemmon says the question now is how to translate all the high-profile feminizing into real gains for women
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT