With an end to the shutdown maybe/hopefully at hand, it is the perfect time to celebrate all of the glorious wonders that this fruitless 16-day dispute had to offer. It is not mandatory that you peruse this list while the song at right plays, but we strongly, strongly recommend it.
We've broken all of the Ted Cruz-shutdown-debt ceiling moments into categories, all of which are equally great.
Our embattled veterans
By far the most visible point of conflict during the shutdown was the War of the World War II Memorial. It had a lot of great moments; let's reminisce.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas yells at a park ranger, gets yelled at by a guy wearing a bike helmet
Neugebauer told a park ranger stationed at the memorial that she should be "ashamed" of herself for denying veterans access to the memorial. She told him that she wasn't, probably at least in part because she was letting the veterans in. He looked a little confused and stepped away — and then was accosted by a furloughed federal employee equipped for a rumble. Neugebauer tried to blame Harry Reid for the man's status, but Bike Helmet wouldn't have it.
Neugebauer did have one victory: one-upping everyone on Capitol Hill by replacing a flag pin in his lapel with an entire flag in his breast pocket. See GIF at right.
Rep. Pete Sessions reminds America that we aren't France
Sessions appeared at the memorial two days in a row, one day with bolt cutters to remove a chain at the site — which Republicans may or may not have put in place — and the next day for a victory lap. One guy wasn't having it, challenging Sessions and House Republicans to pass a bill to fund the government.
Guy: Put it to a resolution, put it to a vote. If it passes, it will pass.
Sessions: We're not French; we don't surrender.
Lady in the background: Amen!
Sessions' point, presumably, was that the Republicans wouldn't give up the fight. But also that there would be no memorial at all if France weren't such scaredy-cats.
Rep. Michele Bachmann is a bigger hero than the actual vets, basically
From Red Alert Politics:
"I ran over. Louie Gohmert had his scissors. Steve was standing next to the barrier. I yelled, ‘Charge!’ and away we go, and we opened the barriers."
OK. (Here's the video.)
One fervent confederate is worried about the United States
A guy with a poor sense of history showed up at the White House with the flag of the Confederacy, leaders of which would actually have been very pleased about a shutdown of the U.S. government.
Politics at work
The annual effort to show off our government to the Russians didn't go very well
Every year, Congress invites Russian leaders to America to show off how great democracy is, a tradition that goes back to 1999. Perhaps they should have skipped this year.
Eduard Temnov, an educator from a city near Moscow... realized: What he was witnessing in Washington wasn’t actually democracy! It was actually a highly advanced vision of socialism. Here was what the old theorists had promised: a society functioning on its own, with no leaders in charge.
"Maybe you will come to communism soon!" he said. "No government ... but people are still managing!"
You win again, Putin!
Sen. Ted Cruz reads a book
Everyone pitches in
A guy mowed the lawn at the Lincoln Memorial
This was actually kind of nice! Chris Cox of South Carolina took it upon himself to tend to the lawn at Lincoln's feet, telling a local radio station: "Do they think that we're just going to let them go to hell? No."
Then the cops yelled at him.
Glenn Beck and crew show up to clean the already-clean National Mall
Glenn Beck, trying to get in on that action, brought other conservative leaders to the Mall with the idea that they'd clear away the piles of garbage that had no doubt built up. Because, heck, if the government wasn't going to keep our capital clean, they would! So people wandered around looking for garbage, but there wasn't any.
Rep. Blake Farenthold's intern has to vacuum Farenthold's office
Interviewed in the aftermath of the shooting on Capitol Hill, Farnethold described to CNN's Wolf Blitzer the not-very-dangerous danger he and his staff found themselves in.
My daughter was having lunch with my communications director, Meaghan Cronin, and we would send an intern to get a vacuum cleaner because there's no janitorial services during the government shutdown. I was immediately worried about where the rest of the staff was. Just about then, my daughter and Meaghan came bursting in the door. … About 30 seconds later, somebody pounded on the door and it was our intern with a vacuum cleaner. We let him in.
We do not know if the intern was then asked to vacuum.
The GOP had things well in hand
Speaker John Boehner swears about the shutdown
On the third day of the shutdown, Boehner opened his Wall Street Journal and saw a quote from an unnamed administration official about how the administration was "winning." "This isn't some damn game!" Boehner exclaimed.
Four days later, he told his caucus that they needed to put some points on the board.
The Republicans won the shutdown because of their hashtags
The nation's foremost concern was the children
House Republicans love NIH funding, and they have the coats to prove it
In an effort to rebut concerns about the National Institute of Health having to turn away clinical trial participants, members of the House Republican caucus who'd had careers in medicine donned their white lab coats to provide living props to Majority Leader Eric Cantor. From the Huffington Post:
"I've learned so much about the cutting-edge research and the potential, the breakthroughs that we're on the verge of discovering," [House Republican Conference Chair Cathy] McMorris Rodgers said. "Let's keep that going."
Of course, House Republicans could also agree to just fund the government and end the shutdown today, which would allow those clinical trials to resume, along with everything else.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, quote, "I hope all sick children die," or something like that
To be fair, that's not a direct quote. Actually, as we explained, Reid asked why you would pit funding for sick children against funding for other parts of the government. But since he said that in response to Sen. Chuck Schumer, who was just off-mic, it was reported that he answered the question "If you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn't you do it?" with "Why would we want to do that?" (Feel free to watch the video.)
Republicans, assuming they had another slam dunk victory like "You didn't build that" on their hands, leveraged Reid's awkward timing to record success.
A kid wanted to go to the zoo
But he couldn't, because it was closed.
Likely Pulitzer nominees
Likely nominee #1: The guy who got Bachmann to talk about twerking
In a conversation with the host of a Tea Party radio show, Bachmann insisted people thought she had a starring role in a sketch on Saturday Night Live, which no one believed. At right is Miley Cyrus, starring in that sketch. If you're confused, the man pictured is not John Boehner.
Then the host — who somehow figured out that Miley and Michele are different people — asked if Bachmann did a lot of twerking. "No, I've never done twerking in my life," Bachmann said, "and I don't intend to take it up." (That is how people of a certain generation talk about weird things the kids are doing. "I have never 'done marijuana'," etc.)
Likely nominee #2: The CNN anchor who was told how pretty and dumb she was
From Yahoo News:
During a debate over the decision by some members of Congress to accept paychecks during the government shutdown while other workers are furloughed, Indiana Republican Rep. Todd Rokita prefaced a response to CNN's Carol Costello by praising her beauty.
"You're beautiful, but you have to be honest as well," Rokita said near the end of a live interview on CNN's Newsroom Thursday.
Likely nominee #3: The person at CNBC who chose this caption