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How Goes The GOP’s Shutdown?


Neither Republicans nor Democrats are having a good shutdown, but it’s been far worse for the GOP, according to Gallup. Both parties are at their lowest approval rating in 20 years, but the problem is not equally distributed.

On my Facebook feed last night, a conservative posted this chart and said something to the effect of, “What are we doing to ourselves here?” One of his commenters said, “Most of the people in this country are sheeple who believe whatever the media tells them. Who cares what they think?” That’s how thick the bubble is for some of these folks.

Daniel Larison, commenting on the above poll results, says:

Post-Bush Republicans have managed to achieve what I thought couldn’t be done–they have made their party even more unattractive to the country than it was at the lowest ebb of Bush’s last years in office.

Megan McArdle, who opposes both Obamacare and the shutdown, says it’s time for the GOP to fold. It’s a really good piece, but this part below stood out to me personally. She ran the prospect of default by an investor friend, who told her that the only thing that really matters to investors is whether or not Washington is “institutionally adrift” with regard to settling its fiscal matters. McArdle sums up:

The markets do not care about whatever trivial amount of spending Republicans might succeed in cutting by these maneuvers. They don’t care whether the federal government spends 25 percent or 28 percent of gross domestic product. What they care about are the odds that they will get paid. And signaling that the two parties are completely unable to conduct the normal business of government is a good way to highlight a risk that they might not get paid.

As you know, I don’t think much about policy, and I’m willing to accept that Obamacare is bad. Here’s the thing, though: it passed Congress after a hellacious political battle, and it passed muster with the Supreme Court. In our system, this is supposed to have settled the matter. Republican lost, fair and square. Now, though, the Tea Partiers are attempting an extreme move to stop the implementation of a program they hate — a move that destabilizes the normal process of government. As McArdle points out, just because you hate Obamacare doesn’t mean anything you can do to stop it must be done. It was always idiotic to think that the administration would negotiate over its signature program. Yes, most Americans may not like Obamacare, but most Americans do not think it’s the apocalypse, either. Who did this minority of Republicans think would be on their side?

What this episode shows is that the House Republicans are controlled by a radical faction, guided by no sense of political prudence, who are willing to blow up the normal processes of government to get what they want. Good luck trying to convince voters in 2016 to turn the presidency over to this party. Gallup also finds this:

Self-identified Republicans are more than twice as likely to view their own party unfavorably (27%) as Democrats are to see their own party unfavorably (13%). The GOP’s unfavorable rating among Republicans is up eight points from September, compared with a one-point rise in Democratic Party unfavorables among Democrats. These findings may be consistent with the widely circulated narrative that the Republican Party is internally splintered on how best to handle the budgetary negotiations.

Even ordinary Republicans hate the Republicans. Good work, men. From the party whose wise and prudent judgment brought us the Iraq cakewalk…

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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