McKinley, Capito, Manchin Right

No doubt a few staunch conservatives will be unhappy with Reps. David McKinley and Shelley Capito, both R-W.Va., for voting in favor of legislation to end the government “shutdown” and raise the national debt limit.

I invite those folks to visit the alley beside the newspaper building. There, they can beat their heads against a brick wall to their hearts’ content.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had it right when he summed up the situation that faced fiscal conservatives. “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win,” he said Thursday.

Both McKinley and Capito are very conservative about government spending. People who know McKinley, from Wheeling, understand he’s very worried about deficit spending and committed to do something about it.

But that’s the point: Republicans who for more than two weeks held out against President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid weren’t making any progress. The only thing they were accomplishing was to make themselves increasingly unpopular with many Americans, according to public opinion polls.

If anything, they got out while the getting was good.

What I mean is this: Had the House not approved legislation funding the government and increasing the debt ceiling, the government’s authority to borrow money would have expired within hours.

We know how Obama reacted to lack of a government funding bill. He made the shutdown as painful as he could – historically so – for Americans. He went out of his way to make our most revered neighbors, military veterans, suffer.

Imagine what he would have done had the debt ceiling not been increased. Can there be any doubt that orders would have gone forth from the White House to default immediately on some bond payments – even if there was a way they could be made for a few more days?

No, McKinley, Capito and others who voted their way out of the mess had no realistic options. In a way, they showed political courage to vote as they did.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., came out of the mess smelling like a rose.

He was part of a bipartisan group of senators who crafted a “template” to resolve the standoff on Capitol Hill. He made multiple television appearances, usually to interviewers who seemed won over by his comments – which amounted to telling viewers this never would have happened in West Virginia.

It wouldn’t, of course.

Manchin also won praise – and very rightly so – for a personal intervention. It occurred after he learned the government was claiming the shutdown meant it could not pay death benefits to the families of service men and women killed in combat.

Manchin contacted Fisher House, a private charity, which agreed to pay the benefits until the government could get back on its feet. The organization will be reimbursed.

That, too, would never have happened in West Virginia – because Republicans and Democrats in state government wouldn’t have allowed the outrage in the first place.

Anyone want to nominate Manchin as Senate majority leader?

Someone really should dig out the numbers for the net cost of operating national parks during the shutdown, when tons of resources were devoted to keeping Americans out – and compare the amount to the same period last year.

  • ??

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has defended indefensible glitches in the website by insisting there’s no hurry for Americans to sign up for Obamacare health insurance. Why, there’s a six-month open enrollment period, she says.

Really? Why, then, weren’t some of the bureaucrats involved in Obamacare furloughed during the shutdown? Apparently there was no hurry for them to do whatever they were doing …

Myer can be reached at