Republicans in Congress have been trying to shift the blame for the shut down onto Democrats ever since they started it. It’s been a losing battle so far. Polls show people are increasingly holding Republicans responsible.
They tried calling it the Harry Reid shut down or the Obama shut down but people weren’t buying. Then they tried introducing legislation to fund things like museums, parks and national monuments that would keep the tourist dollars flowing and vacationers happy. Essentially, Republicans wanted to fund the fun stuff.
They argued that everyone wanted museums, parks and monuments, so why not fund them first? When the Democrats didn’t go along, Republicans cried foul. They tried to blame the Congressional Democrats for the closings and hoped that the public would, too. But it didn’t work.
Unfortunately for Republicans, too many of us have kids. Basically, the GOP tried the old, “Let me eat my dessert first” trick. Every parent or caretaker knows that if you give into that demand, the kids will never eat their broccoli. And if you give in once, you’ll hear it again every time you serve something they don’t like.
And really, that’s what House Republicans sound like–spoiled kids. They got their way with the sequester in 2011 and they thought they could again. In 2011, they fooled President Obama into thinking that they would compromise instead of allowing across-the-board cuts to the military and other programs. He was wrong and we got stuck with deep, irresponsible cuts to spending. But in Tea Party world, a cut is a cut so it was all good.
Now, the Tea Party, like those spoiled kids, thinks they can can get their way again. They can hold out to defund Obamacare and if we can’t pay for programs, so be it. Less government is better government, no matter how we get it.
This time, though, Obama is not giving in and the American people are holding Republicans responsible, as they should. Polls are already showing that the shut down could cost the GOP its majority in the House. Reasonable people would look for a way out.
But the Tea Party aren’t reasonable people. They are zealots. They believe we need to shrink and weaken the federal government by any means possible. They are ready to move past the debt-ceiling straight into default because, in their world, that smaller government is the only thing that matters.
Obama may have been the grownup who compromised in 2011, but Speaker John Boehner is the indulgent parent. He’s given the Tea Party members more power than they deserve by rewarding bad behavior. It’s time for him to force his disciplined-challenged kids to eat their broccoli first.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >