How GOP Loses Shutdown Fight

Jonathan BernsteinJonathan Bernstein wrote a really great article over at The American Prospect, The Day After Shutdown. Although he doesn’t think there will be a shutdown, he has put together an overview of how a shutdown would get resolved. Based upon it, I can see why he doesn’t think a shutdown will happen. The whole thing seems pretty straight forward. So you have to wonder why the Republicans would allow it. There is one very good reason, however: there is too much power in the House Republican caucus vested in inexperienced legislators who don’t know what they are doing. In that case, this will be a learning opportunity.

The beginning of it is obvious. Parts of the government will shutdown and this will anger people who will complain to our representatives in Washington. This will cause Congress to at least try to put together some limited fixes—you know, things like the air traffic controller fix to the Sequester (can’t allow the rich to suffer). And the partisan press will blame the other side.

The whole thing gets interesting when the mainstream press gets involved. Bernstein argues that they will come down on the side of the Democrats. This isn’t because the mainstream press is liberal. (In part, that’s because they aren’t.) As he correctly notes, the main way that the press is biased is toward the status quo. Thus, they will not see a government shutdown as a good thing—especially when it is done for an unprecedented reason: to defund one bit of legislation that they don’t have the votes to repeal in the normal democratic way.

He adds a very important footnote:

Moreover: There’s a chance that one or more House or Senate Republicans will say something to reinforce that sense. Indeed, there’s simply an excellent chance that one or more Republican politicians will say something really foolish in the middle of the fight; that’s been the record of Republican politicians over the last few years, but during a shutdown more people will be paying attention.

As the media goes, so goes the public and this will lead the parties to the bargaining table. What the final deals is, is uncertain. It will depend upon which side is the more desperate, but that will most likely be the Republicans. As Bernstein says, “[The deal] probably won’t even be as good for Republicans as whatever their best deal would have been before a shutdown, and it might even be better than the status quo for Democrats.”

Assuming that Obamacare is not defunded, the Democrats will win this fight. The Republicans set it up that way. If they had said they wanted a trillion dollars cut from the budget and ended up with a hundred billion, they could claim victory. But defunding Obamacare is all or nothing. They’ve argued that Obamacare is such a big threat to freedom in America that it must be stopped. That doesn’t allow for any compromise. In the end, I think they will look both weak and incompetent. That’s very bad for them.

Bernstein explains where that leaves the Republican Party: nowhere.

Meanwhile, don’t expect a “break the fever” reaction from Republicans in which the party suddenly wises up and stops listening to the Crazy Caucus. Instead, expect a “knife in the back” story: “If only John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the other RINOs in leadership had held on a little longer, they would have won a famous victory that would not only have ended the dreaded Obamacare but would have led to certain 2014 and 2016 victories and a fulfillment of all of Ronald Reagan’s greatest wishes!”

That’s correct. Just like Christians whose leaders promise the Second Coming of Jesus that never comes, the Republicans will always have an explanation for why they were always right. The only way they go away is through electoral defeat. The crazies cannot be reformed; they must be defeated. And it seems the crazies are determined to defeat themselves.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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