John B. Judis at New Republic:
In the Federalist Papers, James Madison promised that a large republic with a representative government would avoid the “instability, injustice and confusion” that had plagued many nations in Europe. In a representative government, he reasoned, disruptive factions would be unable to gain sufficient power to dissolve the social contract. The people’s representatives would not necessarily be paragons of virtue, but they would be less likely to succumb to “local prejudices and schemes of injustice.” In the 225 intervening years, Madison has been proven correct, with two great exceptions. One was the Civil War. The other was the 16-day government shutdown of October 2013.
The shutdown’s precipitating cause—President Barack Obama’s health care reform—was, of course, not as morally consequential as slavery. And yet, the shutdown presented an existential threat to the country—the prospect of a breakdown in the national government, a diminishment in America’s standing in the world, and a global financial disaster.
The prime agitators were a small group of right-wing lawmakers identified with the Tea Party who had no interest in negotiating with President Obama unless he was willing to defund or delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Along with grassroots Tea Party groups and elite conservative organizations in Washington, these politicians formed a political battering ram against any prospect of compromise. Until House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell finally defied this faction, the United States stood poised on the edge of calamity.
There is a bunch more, but if I was you I wouldn’t waste my time reading it. I skimmed it and it reads like one of Chris Matthew’s paranoid, drunken rants.
I mean, seriously? The Civil War and a 16 day partial closure of non-essential government offices are the two worst internal crises our nation has faced? How about Watergate or the impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton? What about Vietnam? The Civil Rights movement? The Alien and Sedition acts? The election of 1876? The assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley or Kennedy?
What a load of crap.
This kind of stuff bothers me. It’s like the feeling you get when your neighbor or co-worker starts telling you that a bowl of cornflakes told him that the government is controlling his brain with mind rays they got from a U.F.O. That’s when you get a chill because you suddenly realize you are dealing with a crazy person and you wonder if they are the dangerous kind of whack-job. You try to remain calm while you back away slowly so you can call the guys in white coats.
I see a lot of this stuff coming from the left these days. This is no mere disagreement over policy. This is a huge difference in the perception of reality. That’s the other scary part – if they aren’t crazy then I must be, because at least one of us is delusional.
I’m pretty sure it’s not me.