Bruce Bartlett: This Government Shutdown Will Defeat the GOP in 2014:
The Obama administration is getting little traction in making its case that the government shutdown that began on Tuesday is a serious economic problem. As long as the mail gets delivered, most people don’t have enough direct contact with the federal government to feel the pinch. There is a much stronger case that the president could be making, but is understandably reluctant to do so. Republicans have created a crisis of democracy, which results from their insistence that modest control of one house of Congress--Republicans have 232 seats in the House of Representatives and Democrats have 200, with 218 needed for control--gives them the right to demand enactment of their part of their legislative agenda, especially repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Parenthetically, Republicans only got 47 percent of the aggregate vote for the House of Representatives in 2012….
One really has to go back to the Civil War era to find a time when one party was as disdainful of democracy as Republicans are today. Then it was the Democrats, who represented the slaveholding South and thought any means were justified to defend the principle of slavery. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, explained in his first inaugural address that if a minority persists on forcing the majority to accept its demands, and is willing to use any means necessary to do so, then the inevitable result will be anarchy or tyranny. As Lincoln said:
A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.
In that case, the result was the bloodiest war in our history. No one thinks that Republicans today would use arms to resist Obamacare, but they do appear willing to bring down the entire economy and financial system to get their way…. Washington insiders continue to believe that cooler heads will prevail at the last minute and a financial crisis will be averted. But the crisis of democracy will continue… until after the 2014 elections at the earliest.