At the end of the day and with of 20/20 hindsight, any Monday morning quarterback can see that the recent government shutdown/debt ceiling debacle raises a truckload of questions for millions of ordinary (yet exceptional) hard-working middle-class American families.
Most of the discussions among these good, god-fearing men and women -- who work hard and play by the rules -- are reportedly taking place around the kitchen tables they just want to put food on.
The overarching question, of course, is this: Who were the winners and losers? In physical terms, who blinked first? Big picture triple-net, are we looking at a win-win, a lose-lose, a lose-win or a win-lose situation? Or is the devil in the details?
Long story short, we may never know. What we can say with confidence is that the answers are either known unknowns, unknown knowns or -- worst-case scenario -- unknown unknowns.
We also know that while the bleeding heart winners insist that there are no winners, the lose-one-for-the-Gipper losers are certain that what didn't kill them will make them stronger.
Having said that -- or, if you prefer, that said -- let's cut to the chase. Let's bottom-line this thing.
1. Are we back to square one with our backs against the wall, or are we back in the saddle and ready to go back to the drawing board? Or should we walk it back?
2. Have lawmakers on both sides of the aisle failed to kick the habit and again kicked the can down the road or -- worst-case scenario -- kicked it to the curb?
3. Speaking of the aisle, will the folks on the new bipartisan super-duper committee reach across it? And if they do, will they come to the table?
4. It may be true that by not spiking the ball, President Obama went the extra mile -- or at least the whole nine yards. But now that he's won, how can he convince the haters he won't move the goalposts and say, "my way or the highway"?
5. Is this a teachable moment or just business as usual? In other words, do we have a golden opportunity to double down and go for a robust, game-changing grand bargain?
6. Why would people who call themselves Tea Partiers forsake their namesake and drink the Kool Aid? More to the point, can they get back on the horse (perhaps one of a different color?) or will they have to get out of Dodge? In the great scheme of things, can they get a life -- or at least a room?
7. Who will be smart enough to pivot from exploiting our kids and grandkids and, instead, focus like a laser on exploiting our grandkids' kids and their grandkids?
8. Is Tom Cruise crazy like a fox, the 800-pound elephant in the room, a bull in a china shop, a chicken with its head cut off or just an idiot? And what about Ted Cruz?
9. Does anyone on TV know the difference between snatching victory from the jaws of defeat and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?
10. John Boehner may have betrayed the American people in terms of jobs, jobs, jobs, but he doesn't seem like such a bad guy. How come no one was willing to sit down -- at the table or elsewhere -- and have a conversation with him?
11. In a perfect storm, if the pilot's light isn't lit -- or if there is no pilot -- and a plane is hijacked in the woods, who in God's name are the hostages supposed to negotiate with?
12. With respect (!) to out-and-out wackos like King, Bachmann and Gohmert, should we give them a break, cut them some slack, wipe the slate clean, try to just get along? Or is it more a matter of garbage in, garbage out?
At the end of the end of the day isn't it all in a day's work for the lawmakers of the United States? After all, when all is said and (not) done, isn't America the greatest country in the history of the Milky Way?