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An exercise in the asinine as Congress shuts down

Remember when Steve Sweeney said Chris Christie “prayed a lot” for Hurricane Sandy, and “got lucky” when the disaster — and the governor's response — distracted voters from Christie's weak economic record?

You have to wonder what he's thinking now. Christie, who is running for governor again to keep him busy while he waits for the 2016 presidential election, has staked his political future on his ability to compromise to push reforms through the Legislature. That's touched his biggest accomplishments, from the property tax cap to funding the pension shortfall, though both are far from perfect solutions.

Now, though, the shutdown that canceled the federal government last week is just the latest “prayer” moment for a governor who got to stroll around saying if he were in charge, he'd lock legislators in and take the bat out on them until they hammered out a budget deal.

It's a great stage for Christie. But it's a really sad state of affairs for the nation and its business community, which has been stuck waiting to see when the nation would finally fall over the edge of the fiscal cliff it's been staring down for months — in the midst of an already impossible financial climate that makes planning and decision making difficult. At this stage, the comparisons of Congress to self-indulgent children seem inadequate, if only for the simple reason that children eventually grow up. House lawmakers — Peter Pan's lost boys, if there ever were any — are in no rush to do so.

We can't call ourselves enthusiastic about the Affordable Care Act that's at the root of this disaster. We're displeased that it creates a huge bureaucracy that doesn't fully solve the underlying problems of the health system. We're disappointed that the rollout has been handled with all the grace of a Miley Cyrus dance performance. And we're disgusted that businesses are forced to turn away from doing business to manage this train wreck of a program.

But the fact of the matter is that Mitt Romney ran his campaign in 2012 on repealing Obamacare. The American people voted for the guy who campaigned on the validity of the program. So it's time for lawmakers to put the stupidity aside move forward on a budget plan that doesn't hinge on repealing the law. If they're unwilling to do so, we hope voters remember that when election times rolls around again.

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