The 40 second [Update: video changed; now 60 second.] video below is really great. What’s going on is Ron Paul and Mitch McConnell discussing how the government shutdown is going. They were mic’ed, but they didn’t know. They both agree that it is going well for them because they think it sounds bad when the Democrats say they refuse to negotiate. However, the whole thing comes off badly for them for a couple of reasons. To start, it makes the whole thing seem very much like a game. And it sounds like they are surprised that they are winning the “optics” war, which of course, only makes their position sound like their petty political battles matter more than all the lives that are adversely affected by the shutdown. Fundamentally, it makes the whole shutdown seem like it isn’t a serious business.
It gives me pause, however: was I wrong earlier today when I said, GOP Losing Government Shutdown Battle? Maybe, but I don’t think that’s what’s going on at all. At first, I kind of agreed that the Democratic position of “no negotiation” sounded bad. But I’ve been pretty impressed with how most people seem to understand that “no negotiation” frames the government shutdown as not a policy dispute but as a terrorist act.
So what seems to be happening in this conversation is more evidence that Republicans get very skewed views of what’s going on in the country because of their media echo chamber. They surround themselves with people who only tell them, “Things are really going great!” So when they lose this battle (as I’m pretty sure now that they will), they will be just as surprised as they were when Romney lost the election. How many times are they going to repeat this error?
H/T: Steve Benen