Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus will reportedly soon announce an offer to fund the operations of the World War II Memorial for 30 days, to literalize his party's effort to turn the aging veterans of the war into a partisan political commodity.
The World War II Memorial could be open today, if the Republican majority in the House of Representatives were willing to pass a budget resolution that did not include an attempt to delay or defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act. The whole campaign for delays should be moot anyway: October 1 arrived, the ACA-created healthcare exchanges began enrolling people, Obamacare is up and running. Demanding repeal now is like the Democrats making this year's budget contingent on a Bush-Gore recount in Florida. It's over.
Only of course it's not. It has only entered a newer and even more unreal phase. Yesterday, the lawmakers who voted to shut down the government went to the World War II Memorial to demand it be opened for the veterans' sake—an act of civil disobedience against themselves. They are unable or unwilling to process the information that a government shutdown means that government-run facilities are shut down.
The veterans had already survived all the way from V-J Day to the spring of 2002 without the memorial. And nobody had forgotten about their service. A war monument is the very definition of an inessential government service. Children are missing out on cancer-medicine trials, but Priebus is not announcing any plans to fund those, or Head Start, or civilian intelligence analysis, or any of the other activities of a fully funded and functional government.
[Image via Getty]