President Barack Obama's strategic sadism disregards regular Americans' basic needs and tortures those who resist.
And if this damages people, so what? "We are winning," a senior administration official told The Wall Street Journal. "It doesn't really matter to us" how long the shutdown endures "because what matters is the end result."
The administration is scrambling over benefits denied to the bereaved families of at least 26 military service members who died on duty since the Oct. 1 shutdown. Officials initially refused these grieving loved ones the travel and burial aide that Washington traditionally offers under such brutal circumstances. The GOP House voted unanimously Wednesday to restore this relief, and the Senate followed suit Thursday.
This appears to be the latest example of Obama and company needlessly using the shutdown to hammer innocent Americans, blame Republicans and advance Democratic campaign prospects between now and the 2014 mid-term elections.
"We've been told to make life as difficult for people as we can," a frustrated National Park Service ranger told The Washington Times as the shutdown commenced.
While the Park Service did not interfere with Tuesday's Democrat-rich immigration reform rally on the National Mall, it has pounded those not explicitly allied with Obama. The Park Service notoriously spent time and money to shutter the open-air World War II memorial and prevent wheelchair-bound, nonagenarian veterans from touring this tribute to the Greatest Generation.
"At first I thought it was a huge bureaucratic oversight," Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., told The Daily Caller, "but having talked with the officials, I can't help but think this was politically motivated."
At George Washington's privately funded Mount Vernon estate, the Park Service blockaded the parking lot. It closed the privately owned Claude Moore Colonial Farm in McLean, Va. Elderly citizens have been forced from their private homes on federal acreage on Lake Mead, Nev.
Armed Park Service rangers prevented a group of largely elderly tourists from photographing Yellowstone's bison and its Old Faithful geyser. They also were forbidden to leave their hotel. As they departed Yellowstone, according to the Newburyport (Mass.) Daily News, their bus "was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route."
Team Obama is using the shutdown to squeeze non-uniformed Catholic priests who assist on-duty Catholic military chaplains. Many contract priests "who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work -- not even to volunteer," writes John Schlageter, general counsel of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. "During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base, and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so."
Until public outrage made them reactivate it, the Justice Department disabled its amber alert website, a repository of information on missing children. At that time, however, Michelle Obama's Let's Move website remained online.
Obama's current first-do-some-harm policy mirrors his harm offensive, which coincided with the start of budget sequestration. Obama subjected American travelers to airport delays and even toyed with air-traffic control until Congress forced officials to prioritize passenger safety and convenience. Obama planned to furlough federal food inspectors, and thus leave Americans vulnerable to spoiled meat, until Congress stopped him. And, soon before sequestration began on March 1, the Department of Homeland Security released 2,232 illegal-alien detainees, 629 of them convicted criminals.
All of this seemed intended to smear the GOP, although Americans soon found sequestration manageable. Today's Obama-led agony also looks designed to generate public rage against Republicans, who have adopted at least 18 bills to re-open the government and/or fund specific shutdown-hampered functions. Senate Democrats have ignored or defeated these measures, and Obama seems uninterested in signing them.
Obama is a presidential first: a sadist-in-chief who abuses the American people purely for partisan gain.
Deroy Murdock is a columnist with Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with Stanford University's Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Email deroy.Murdock@gmail.com.