Thursday, October 3, 2013

If Republicans Win This Shutdown Fight, It Will Be Bad For Everyone

Jonathan Bernstein has a question he thinks reporters should be asking Republicans today:
"Why are you against passing a clean CR [Continuing Resolution] and reopening the government?"
"That’s pretty basic stuff — and something that many House Republicans, in the third day of a shutdown, seem to have no idea how to answer."
"Either way, what Republicans have been up to since about Saturday night has been stumbling from one Fox-ready talking point to the next, while moving farther and farther from actually having any idea of what, specifically, they believe is worth shutting the government down over. And don’t forget: 20 Republicans now publicly support the clean CR that would reopen the government, and reports have it that anywhere from 100 to some 180 privately would be happy to see that result, even if they are too fraidy-cat to vote that way."
I like this line of questioning, and I do indeed think the media should be hammering Republican congressmen on this.

But I also have an idea for another question reporters should ask the GOP: If Democrats give in to Republican demands, will Republicans do this again during the next shutdown fight?

Here is why this question is important:

  • The GOP has been PUBLICLY planning to use the threat of a shutdown to push for concessions from Democrats ever since the House and Senate passed budget resolutions this Spring.
  • Democrats ARE NOT asking for concessions from Republicans. However, Republicans ARE asking for concessions from Democrats.
  • Republicans have a long list of potential concessions they could demand from Democrats.
  • If the government passes a clean CR (a Dem win), this government-by-crisis strategy will be a failure. If the government passes a CR with ANY Democrat concessions (a GOP win), this government-by-crisis strategy will be a success.

So the question stands: If the GOP gets the concessions it wants, what will be it's motivation to allow future CRs to pass without also demanding more concessions? Why would they abandon such a successful strategy?

And make no mistake, this strategy is terrible for everybody, regardless of your political affiliation.

Further Reads:

Kevin Drum: "President Obama Has Had Enough"
"I think Obama is right. Conservatives are basically trying to invent a new Constitution because they don't like the way the current one works, and they're doing it by threatening the equivalent of nuclear war if they don't get their way. There's simply no way that any president can give in to that."
Michael Linden: "Since the GOP took control of Congress, NIH funding is down 13%. Pretty galling to hear GOP members use it as a political prop now."

John Sides: "Political polarization of the American public continues to rise. Or does it?"
"To many, President Obama's first term and the 2012 campaign seemed only to polarize Americans further. But once you take the design of the survey into account, the new ANES data do not support that conclusion."


  1. Republicans were shut out of negotiations in the builing of Obamacare. If Republicans had not been shut out of negotions we would not be having this shutdown. Democrats lost the house because by deception and force the Affordable Care Act was passed. This move by the house is legitimate. It is one of the checks and balances our brilliant founding fathers put into the Constitution so that tyrants would not take over the government like the Democrats have done.

  2. So you think it is worth holding the entire country hostage, holding back our recovery, and causing default to overturn the ACA (Something that would absolutely never happen under this administration)?

    FYI: We are talking about unified budgets and debt limits, something that is a product of 20th century politics, not founding father politics. And actually, the GOP voluntarily shut themselves out of the discussion of the ACA: