When the United States was forced into the first partial federal shutdown in 17 years on Tuesday, the outside world watched in almost disbelief. The U.S. government, which purports to be the world’s foremost model for democratic governance, had ground to a temporary halt amidst the drama of partisan squabbling. The international media were seemingly ready to cast blame, and Congressional Republican leaders bore the brunt. From London to Beirut commentators have let rip, sharpening their pens – and their criticism – for one side of the aisle in particular. “There is a frustrating tendency in American political reporting to adopt a position of “both sides-ism” – as in, “both sides” are equally to blame for the nation’s chronic political dysfunction,” writes The Guardian Michael Cohen, before pointing the finger of blame firmly in the direction of the Republican Party. Cohen sees members of the GOP’s right-wing – including Sen. Ted Cruz of recent filibuster fame – as the instigators of this shutdown. He even called Sen. Cruz “the GOP’s self-made monster” in a separate op-ed last week. “That the U.S. will have come to such a pass – for no reason other than the extremism of the Republican Party – is an important reminder of who is blame for the governing dysfunction that has come to define the U.S. democracy today,” he writes.
While Russia Today devoted an entire article to U.S. shutdown comedy, featuring noteworthy images and tweets carrying the #govtshutdown hashtag, photojournalist Lynsey Addario tweeted from India that the shutdown was not being taken too seriously. “I’m in India, and my driver and translator are laughing at U.S. govt shutdown. So much for world’s great superpower. It’s closed,” she said in a Tuesday tweet.
And more. So thanks, Congress. Dimwits.