* Hot air gives way to fire breathing in Congress
* Analogies veer from Armageddon to Civil War
By Fred Barbash
WASHINGTON, Sept 28 To those not watching the
Capitol Hill debate over funding the government and Obamacare:
You don't know what you're missing.
It's "high noon," cautioned Democratic Senator Tom Harkin,
"as dangerous as the breakup of the Union before the Civil War."
No, actually, it's not the Civil War, said Republican
Representative Roger Williams.
Williams likened the budget battle before Congress to the
Revolutionary War. "It's truly our generation's Valley Forge."
But wait, what about World War Two? That was the analogy of
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the Texan who compared fellow Republican
senators who didn't agree with him to appeasers of Nazi Germany.
Republican John McCain said he resented the Cruz comment.
But then again, he has called Cruz and his allies "wacko birds."
"A kind of craziness," was how Democrat Jan Schakowsky
described the scene on the Hill. The eight-term congresswoman
from Illinois added that, "combined with the craziness is a
meanness that I haven't really seen before."
Such is the rhetoric that has infused the debate over a
wonky-sounding bill entitled "Continuing Appropriations For
Fiscal Year 2014."
That is the bill that would fund the federal government when
the previous appropriation runs out at midnight Monday, causing
a partial shutdown.
Republicans continued to demand Saturday that in exchange
for their support of the funding bill, President Barack Obama
and his Democrats must agree to delay the health care reform law
enacted in 2010 after a bitter debate.
That was Armageddon, now-Speaker of the House John Boehner
said at the time, the biblical war between good and evil, the
Well, maybe next-to-last.
Three years later, another battle rages. The warriors are
tarred with unforgiving labels. The Republican's conservative
Tea Party wing is the "weird caucus" to Senate Democratic leader
Harry Reid. Democrats, in turn, are the "political ruling
class," to Senator Mike Lee. In time, Reid's "Tea Party
anarchists" came up against Lee's "crony capitalists" who -
according to Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama - happen to
favor "socialized medicine."
Many Republicans have vowed to repeal the health care
overhaul designed to provide coverage to millions of uninsured
To them, Obamacare isn't just a bad law.
It's "the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed in
Congress," said Representative John Fleming of Louisiana.