Sunday, September 29, 2013

Why This Is Not Just 'Washington Breakdown,' in 3 Graphs (and 1 Story) - James Fallows - The Atlantic

Why This Is Not Just 'Washington Breakdown,' in 3 Graphs (and 1 Story) - James Fallows - The Atlantic:
In essence, the hard-line faction of the House GOP is demanding the following, as recent NYT, WSJ, andWaPo articles, apart from today's, have made clear: 
  • EITHER the Administration must undo the main legislative accomplishment of the president's time in office, which he passed despite filibuster resistance four years ago and which the Supreme Court has since held constitutional; 
  • OR ELSE all other business of the government will be halted, and the full faith and credit of the United States will be called into question, with unknown but likely bad world-financial consequences.
This is not what either John Boehner or Mitch McConnell says he stands for. I have no doubt that Obama could ultimately strike some compromise with even McConnell's filibuster-happy Senate Republicans and any kind of normal Republican majority in the House. In the end Democrats would complain that Obama had caved, Republicans would complain about Beltway insiderism, but some deal would result.
Yet enough of today's absolutist House members think in exactly these Either/Or terms that normal compromise is simply impossible. Compromise is nearly as much their stated enemy as is Obamacare. If you're urging a search for "common ground," please tell me where you see between these views. I argued recently that the closest parallels in our history were to the John C. Calhoun era before the Civil War. If you think that's unfair, please tell me another case in which a dissatisfied minority threatened to shut down the entire government, and possibly renege on the national debt, unless a sitting President agree to reverse his hardest-won policy accomplishment.
And, yes, a dissatisfied minority. This brings us to the part of the struggle that gets far less ink than it should.
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