Up to today, I haven’t written anything on the shutdown because I felt that I had nothing to add to what has been said, and said again, about the GOP: their irresponsibility, their extremism, their delusions, their insanity.
But we are four days away from defaulting on our debts and we are nowhere. How did we get here? It’s very simple. Since 2008, Republicans have been infusing more and more extremism and obstruction into the political process not only because they’re off the rails, but also because it has worked in the past. Let me remind you of two previous fiscal fights. In 2011, we almost defaulted but didn’t because President Obama compromised. Then there was the fiscal cliff in 2012. HuffPost reports, “Obama’s team cut a ‘fiscal cliff” deal that shaved back a proposed tax increase on the wealthy, while also failing to delay the across-the-board automatic spending cuts that Democrats opposed,” otherwise known as the sequester.
President Obama, either because of his personality, re-election pressures, genuine concern for the well-being of millions of Americans, naiveté over the depth of GOP opposition, or a combination of all of these has always behaved as “the only adult in the room.” But Republicans have seen this as weakness. They threatened a shutdown using Obamacare as hostage because they thought that President Obama would cave. We still don’t have an agreement on the debt ceiling, because they’re pretty sure that President Obama will not, cannot let the country default. They know that President Obama and the Democrats care, and they’re using this against them.
ENOUGH! For 5 years, this GOP has gone from bad to worse, starting with Mitch McConnell, who made a one-term Obama presidency (instead of the country’s prosperity) his #1 priority, and culminating in this shutdown/debt ceiling crisis. This has been one of the least productive Congresses in the history of our country, and this is entirely the fault of the Republicans.
This GOP should not get any concessions from the Democrats. None. They should not get a single thing from this fiasco that they have created. If they obtain something, no matter how small, it will embolden them. They will spin it to their advantage, and each subsequent time they will push further and further. This party is like the proverbial blackmailer who keeps coming back to ask for more, “or else.”
The only way to stop the GOP and the tea party that is currently fueling it, is for the President and the Democrats to stand strong. They cannot budge. This is a historic moment for our country. This is when our Democratic leaders need to decide to stop the tea-partied GOP dead in its tracks. If they don’t, we will very quickly find our democracy dead, and out of our hands.
I am worried about a default, but it is nothing compared to how worried I am when I see what the Republicans are willing to do in their pursuit of power. As trite as it may sound, we must fight fire with fire. If the only way to stop the GOP is to take one
drastic extreme measure then, as much as I hate to say it, maybe we should default after all.
There is no question that a default would be a very high price to pay, but with everything that we have seen from Republicans since 2008, there is no doubt that allowing the GOP to continue escalating its extremism, will cost us infinitely more.