Monday Shutdown Reader: 'A Last-Ditch Effort' to Save the Country

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For the record and without comment, two more illustrations of the outlook behind the House GOP stance. Each of these notes is representative of a major theme in reader mail.

First, from Susan Cronin, of the National Parks Promotion Council, in response to my item on the enforced closing on an inn in the Blue Ridge Parkway area. I'm using her name with her permission.

James, you have completely missed the point of the federal shut-down hurting good Americans like Bruce O’Connell, owner of the Pisgah Inn.  The Republicans that have called for this shut-down are doing so as a last-ditch effort to stop the acutely dysfunctional Obama administration from taking our country down any further by trying to force a compromise on the AHA. 

President Obama leads congress and his party.  The onus is on him to bring leaders from both sides to the table to negotiate a compromise.  His partisan rhetoric has created this huge rift in Washington, to the detriment of millions of innocent Americans, like Bruce. 

You, like the rest of the Democrats in Washington, are fueling this fire with editorial opinions like this.  My heart goes out to Bruce, all of the mom-and-pops who depend on national parks tourism and all good Americans who are trying to make an honest living while the Democrat bullies in Washington play childish games. Shame! Shame on you and your party of bullies. 

Also, from a reader in the midwest:

You cite real victims (I accept those assertions at face value) but they represent a minority of voters.  Today’s polling asking how many were affected by the shutdown produced barely a third, which is probably an exaggeration.  Since only 17% of the Government is shut down, presumably based on furloughed workers, and every single one of them will be retroactively paid, the shutdown is in reality a media event, with the affected chosen in every case by the Executive Branch, aka The White House.

I’ve read your columns in The Atlantic for years and particularly liked China Airborne, as one who follows international affairs and aviation.  This column, however, reads like a typical liberal hit piece.  Are you aware that Obama is the first President in US history to say, under the same or similar situations, “I will not negotiate.”  He has demonstrated this ‘spoiled brat’ syndrome through his entire life, what we know of it. 

I do recognize that the "Atlas Shrugged Guy" with whom I was corresponding last year was speaking for a group much larger than himself, and with this shutdown we are hearing from them again. I'm getting an increasing amount of mail each day from readers asking about the end of that saga, so I will set myself a public deadline of digging out all the messages, and seeing if I can find out his current views, by the end of this work week. 

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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