The shutdown that occurred on Bill Clinton’s watch 17 years ago didn’t result in the forced closing of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm in Virginia, but it did during Pres. Obama’s watch this month. And an organic farmer in the state says “there is no reason to shut this farm” and that “we should look at history” in matters like this.
During Clinton’s reign, private businesses situated on federal lands were not closed during the government shutdown. Those properties received no federal funding to operate before the shutdown and thus no taxpayer monies were needed to keep it operating after Congress and Clinton reached an impasse. So the businesses continued to operate during the shutdown.
Pres. Obama didn’t follow his predecessor’s lead, however, when it came to trying to limit the impact the government shutdown would have on the nation’s citizens. Instead, under Obama’s watch, the Claude Moore Colonial Farm wasn’t the only private business shut down by the government when it shouldn’t have been. Others included the Pisgah Inn in North Carolina, for example.
Angry over the unwarranted forced closings of their private businesses, the owners began fighting back, some in a civil disobedience way, by keeping their restaurant open to customers, and others by threatening legal action if the unjustified forced closings were not reversed.
The civil disobedience by one private business owner prompted the arrival of five rangers in three cars in order to create a roadblock stopping customers from stopping in to eat, make purchases, or sleep at the Inn. The owner felt a much better use of the Department of Natural Resources manpower during a time when furloughs are already leaving federal agencies strapped should have been considered, and declared that he thought “the Obama administration is choosing to make this shutdown as painful as possible by unnecessarily forcing privately run small businesses to close just because they happened to be located on public lands.” And he cited the fact that this didn’t happen in the last shutdown, so if Clinton was able to see the reasonableness of not closing private businesses just because they sat on public lands then why couldn’t Obama?
It’s true that Bill Clinton managed the shutdown back then in a much more professional way, choosing to not make the small business owner suffer for his inability to get a working solution in Congress ahead of the shutdown. And that’s certainly to his credit. That may be why his approval ratings skyrocketed after the event had run its course and Pres. Obama is facing a lower approval rating than he used to.
The misuse of the power of his office does not appear to be limited to shutting down private businesses located on public lands, however, since it is being reported that the president is trying to raise enough support in the Senate to now be able to gain control of America’s purse strings without the need for any oversight by Congress.
That means Pres. Obama is planning to raise the debt limit himself, every time he wants to, if the Senate gives him that power. But if any president is ever given free rein to spend as he pleases, how much greater will the national debt be as a result? And how can Americans trust this president to control his spending when he isn’t controlling the government very well, leading to a shutdown in the first place?
Photo source: Claude Moore Colonial Farm website