2013-10-16

Why The Left Should Be Worried

Current breaking news tells me that Congress is on the verge of ending the shutdown and avoiding default. I have no idea how long this breaking news will be valid. Probably, by the end of the day, there will be some sort of resolution that keeps the country puttering along.

Leftists and Democratic sympathizers are happily announcing the end of Republicanism. Take, for example Dave Weigl at Slate, who says:
As in 2011, as in the winter battle of 2012–2013, the House GOP's utter inability to break through the Senate's resistence will lead to the passage of a "clean" or (cleaner) bill with most House Democrats joining a rump of Republicans. Senate aides are confident of that happening, but more than a little irritated that it didn't happen two weeks ago, before Republicans had discredited themselves. Talking to reporters yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham seemed downright depressed at the thought of Boehner being weakened or overthrown—the Republicans of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body wanted to give him a chance. Instead, for the third time, they've watched outside pressure groups crack the whip and conservatives cut the speaker down. The late-Tuesday decision by Heritage Action to "score" against the final Boehner plan was one last indignity; the bill was already failing, but the hard right would get to claim credit, again, for scotching a compromise.
Then, presciently:
But you can already see how the conservative base will remember this episode. It won't be a story of Republicans making a huge strategic error and bumbling into an Obamacare-defunding fight without the votes to ever win. It will be a story of wimpy party leaders selling out. The shutdown would have been winnable if they hadn't sold out.
The Washington Post also has the story. In a piece written by Rosalind S. Helderman and Jackie Kucinich, the Post argues that "no one" has control of the House GOP. Helderman and Kucinich reach a conclusion similar to Weigl's, but the context is notably different:
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) said conservatives have succeeded in exposing problems with the health-care law. 
“Oh my gosh, we’ve lit up Obama­care for the whole nation,” he said, describing what his wing of the party had won in the shutdown. “Look, the rollout was atrocious, this is a fundamentally flawed plan, and we have made it crystal-clear to the American public that we stand with them on Obamacare.” 
That attitude illustrated a split within the GOP that has only grown more profound in the days since the shutdown started: Hard-liners are sure that their position is gaining strength, while moderates and a number of Republican leaders counter that the party has experienced an epic collapse.
Let us accept that there is a growing rift between those who the press calls "conservative hard-liners," and those who presumably are not hard-liners, represented by John Boehner and his cadres. Democrats and leftists seem to be celebrating the GOP's collapse under the pressure of these two camps, but I don't believe they should be.

Why not? Because the government shutdown appears to be a high-water-mark for the "hard-liners." That is, they appear to be more powerful within the GOP than ever. After all, if they weren't, then the GOP would have been able to do a deal with the Democrats by now. By all accounts, the reason that hasn't occurred is thanks to these "hard-liners."

The reason leftists should be worried is because the GOP is now less willing and less able to negotiate and compromise than ever before. If Republicans lose big in the next wave of elections, this will temporarily mean more power for the Democrats - hence the left's premature cotillion. But in the wake of the GOP's disappearance, the country may well be left with a gaping hole, a political vacuum that can only be filled by those ordinary citizens who feel their government is out to get them.

Understand: It doesn't matter if these people are wrong. It doesn't. The only thing that matters is how they feel. You can't govern a country by convincing a large group of people that they're wrong. Hell, you can't convince a large group of people that they're wrong. All you can do is either compromise with them or stomp them down.

We see that this faction isn't willing to compromise. The Democrats might be capable of stomping them down, but the political consequences will be legendary and notorious. Alarmed? You should be.