It’s Gotta Hurt
Tormenter-in-chief Obama amplifies the shutdown’s pain.


Deroy Murdock

Editors’ note: This article has been updated since its initial publication.

As the federal shutdown grinds on, Team Obama’s message to the American people is sadly consistent: Shove it — as painfully as possible.

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 that were denied to the bereaved families of at least 26 military servicemembers who died on duty since the October 1 shutdown. Despite Congress’s enacting and Obama’s signing pre-shutdown funding for military pay and family assistance, officials initially refused these grieving loved ones the travel and burial aid that Washington traditionally offers under such brutal circumstances. The GOP House voted unanimously Wednesday to restore this relief. Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada trivialized this House bill as being “for show,” and White House press secretary Jay Carney called it “a gimmick.” However, amid growing public outcry, Reid pushed the measure through the Senate Thursday. Until federal money actually arrives, the private Fisher House deserves national applause for underwriting this support for the loved ones of these fallen heroes.

Regarding the interruption of death gratuities for these mourning families, Representative Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) told Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly Thursday night, “I think they wanted to do this on purpose.” Hunter — a member of the House Armed Services Committee, retired Marine Corps major, and veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — added: “The president of the United States could have fixed this with a penstroke about nine days ago, whenever they first found out about it. . . . He used our military families as pawns. It’s embarrassing and despicable.”

Rather than an innocent bureaucratic mix-up, this disgrace 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 midterm elections.

“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can,” a frustrated National Park Service (NPS) ranger told the Washington Times as the shutdown commenced. “It’s disgusting.”

While the NPS deployed personnel to oversee Tuesday’s Democrat-rich immigration-reform rally on the National Mall, it has pounded everyone not explicitly allied with Obama. In the shutdown’s early hours, NPS notoriously spent time and money to shutter the World War II Memorial and prevent wheelchair-bound nonagenarian veterans from touring this tribute to the Greatest Generation.

“This is an open-air memorial that the public has 24/7 access to under normal circumstances,” Representative Steven Palazzo (R., Miss.) stated. “It actually requires more effort and expense to shut out these veterans from their Memorial than it would simply to let them through.” Palazzo phoned federal authorities on the veterans’ behalf and was stonewalled. “At first I thought it was a huge bureaucratic oversight,” Palazzo told The Daily Caller, “but having talked with the officials, I can’t help but think this was politically motivated.”

If Obama were benevolent, he could have turned this to his political advantage.

The GOP closed the government, Obama could have said, but the people will keep it open. He could have invited volunteers from the American Legion to the Rotary Club to stand watch and assist visitors at the World War II monument, the Vietnam War Memorial, and other solemn sites. Americans would have rushed in to help. Instead, Mean Mr. Obama chose to shower the people with inconvenience and obstruction.

At privately funded Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate, the NPS has blockaded its 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, in Nevada.

The NPS demanded the closure of San Francisco’s beautiful Cliff House, a 150-year-old restaurant with stunning Pacific views through its windows and savory food on its tables. Though privately funded, owned, and operated, it occupies federal land. So Washington demanded on Tuesday that it shut its doors. Cost: $10,000 in daily losses and 170 idle workers.