It’s Not Dems vs. GOP
All politics is local.
None of these Republicans are going to feel it in their districts. Their districts love this stuff.
—Jim Vandehei, Politico
The current fight over the government shutdown isn’t between Republicans and Democrats. It’s between incumbent Republicans and their fear of a Tea Party primary challenge. One does not succeed in elected office by being indifferent to one’s own survival. There is little incentive for incumbent House Republicans to be reasonable, and every political incentive for them to be obstructionist and to blow up the government.
And there’s a twisted sort of logic to this dynamic. If you have a nihilist, knee-jerk view of government being evil and the scary, socialist source of all problems, then why wouldn’t you want it shut down?
It’s analogous to how cigarettes aren’t bad for you because they’re misused—they’re deadly because they’re used precisely as intended.
Gerrymandering has resulted not only in Congressional delegations that don’t reflect the expressed preferences of the voters of their states, but in monochromatic incumbents who fear a primary challenge from their right far more than anything close to a competitive general election.
So while I’m not unsympathetic to Speaker Boehner’s predicament and believe him to be less than thrilled about the above dynamic, Democrats are well within their rights to push back against the absurd portrayal of this as some sort of partisan tug-of-war between two equally culpable parties.
As is often the case, Jon Stewart put it best last night: