With Their Tails Between Their Legs, Republicans End the Shutdown (For Now)

The ongoing hostage crisis that gripped a nation ended peacefully Wednesday night, with Republicans releasing the American and world economies. While the GOP had made wild and unreasonable demands during the 16-day-standoff, including the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, negotiators were able to bring the crisis to an end without giving in on any front.

Is that hyperbole? Okay, maybe it is, but there’s no question that the end to the budget standoff was a complete victory for the Obama Administration, House and Senate Democrats, and the vast majority of Americans who believe that government should not function like a game of chicken. It was also an utter repudiation of the politics of hostage-taking that the Republican Party has practiced over the past three years. In short, it was a victory for anyone who wants a functional government.

It’s important to start by remembering that two weeks ago, Republicans in Congress, led by Tea Party darling Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, were quite certain that they could use the threat of a government shutdown to win concessions from President Obama. They felt that threatening the pain of a government shutdown — one that ultimately ended up costing our economy $24 billion — would be enough to force Obama to delay the implementation of his signature domestic policy achievement. Surely, they said, Obama would not risk the economy to keep Obamacare afloat. If he did stand firm in the face of a shutdown, he certainly would cave once the debt ceiling came to the fore.

Republicans had tried this before, with some success. Not long after taking control of the House, Republicans used the threat of default to wring concessions on spending that ultimately became the sequester. To Obama’s credit, he recognized that this was not a tenable way of running the government. As negotiations were winding down then, he called senior aides in to make clear that there would be no future hostage negotiations.

Obama could not have been clearer about this; ever since 2011, he has stated flatly that he will not negotiate on the debt limit. Republicans assumed he was bluffing, but Obama was deadly serious. If a party controlling one house of Congress could hold the nation hostage over the debt limit, then it would — over and over again. In the long run, this risked an even worse outcome than default: a government careening from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis, with parties making more and more outlandish demands as a condition of keeping the government functioning and the economy from imploding.

This is why Obama refused to give Republicans even a fig leaf of cover in the days after the shutdown began. As soon as Republicans realized the disaster they’d created, they began searching for an out that allowed them to declare some small shred of victory. Obama refused to give that to them; any victory, no matter how small, would have been a concession that government-by-threat was viable. In the end, the only thing Republicans could claim is a small tweak to the Affordable Care Act bolstering income verification — a small tweak that, far from shutting down the Affordable Care Act, tacitly acknowledges that it is the law of the land.

Pessimists will note that the continuing resolution and debt ceiling hike are not permanent; the GOP could threaten default again next February, and the government could shut down again as soon as December. That’s true. The last two weeks, however, has severely damaged the Republican brand. Recent polling has shown Democrats opening up such a large lead in the so-called “generic ballot” that they would win back the House despite GOP gerrymandering.

If Republicans want to repeat this, they can. But the voices of folks like Cruz will hold less sway; there’s no question that Obama is not bluffing when he says he won’t negotiate a debt limit hike. There’s every sign that Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, went along with this plan because they were afraid the right wing would revolt. The damage done to the GOP by the last two weeks, however, makes a right-wing revolt look minor. It’s far more likely that the GOP will use the upcoming few weeks to try to cool their base’s passions down, so that they can quietly keep the government functioning the next time it comes to a vote.

By refusing to negotiate with Republicans, Obama ended up breaking the GOP’s hostage-taking wing. That’s not just good for the President; it’s good for the country as a whole. Negotiating with a gun to your head never leads to good policy. For all the angst of the past two weeks, this outcome was well worth it.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 months ago

thanks for the article.

Margaret Goodman
Margaret Goodman2 years ago

Carole L. wrote:
"...And dear ole Darrell Issa Subpoenas National Park Service for Government Shutdown Documents. A shutdown caused by his own party. That's the same as Cheney blaiming his friend Harry Whittington for getting in the way when he shot him in the face."

Well Cheney might not have blamed Whittington, but Whittington did apologize to Cheney for getting in the way!

Cletus W.
Cletus W.2 years ago

-- cont --

#2 -- In particular, I point out to you Joseph's comments: "We will be back again and again and will not be silenced.....We will never give in no matter how outnumberd we are....We knew we didn't have a chance". Does this sound familiar? Think of WWII and the Nazis and Japan in early 1945. Like the [R] party last week, these countries got their asses kicked after starting something they could never finish. Like the [R] party last week, these countries were already terribly defeated in early 1945, with no hope of winning -- and yet they refused to accept facts and surrender, instead continuing the war and killing even millions more people. These malignantly led, defeated countries essentially said then what Joseph and the Teatards are saying now to America -- now matter how wrong they are, how utterly defeated they are, they will not give up.....that is what this past gov't shutdown was all about, and it is what Joseph and the other deluded Teatards are now telling us: they will happily destroy the country along with themselves, if they cannot have their way.....just like Germany and Japan in 1945. Talk about your anti-American traitors.........

Cletus W.
Cletus W.2 years ago

All the usual sad-sack [R] wankers came on here to try to spin the ass-kicking they got last week. David F., Steve R., Paul B., Joseph B., Darryll G....all the usual suspects...the tailless monkeys who are the very examples given by their slack-jawed bretheren as proof-positive that evolution did not occur.

Two points:
#1 -- these little rightwing trolls came on here, wagged their vestigial tails, and gave their usual feral, substandard, uber-partisan spew. But not ONE of them could muster the intellectual courage to make even ONE cogently formed reply to the many material facts and responses that were presented by any number of you. These dullards are not just purposefully ignorant, they are intellectual COWARDS. And these self-deluded assholes think they can run a country?

-- cont --

Cheryl F.
Cheryl F.2 years ago

I'm so sick of far left and far right, tea party wackos, and 99.99% of the selfish dumba**es in Washington!! A recent poll stated only 11% of the general population is satisfied with the government- I can't believe it's even that high!

Whatever happened to "by the people, for the people" and common sense??? I feel like I would be 100% within my Constitutional rights to stop paying my federal taxes because of "no taxation without representation" as there certainly seems to be no one in DC representing me right now!!!

Brian Foster
Brian F.2 years ago

Joseph B You lost the last election. Get over it. The shutdown is over. You lost. It cost the taxpayers 24 billion dollars. Your Tea Party is just a group of con men who are bought and paid for by the billionaire Koch brothers. They have done nothing, but destroy this country Republicans will pay a heavy price for your ignorance, in this shutdown, costing us 24 billion in New taxes to add to the 17 trillion dollar debt which you created with your unpaid for wars based on lies, and tax breaks for the rich. Republicans will lose the congress, and Senate, and sink into well deserved obscurity.

Susan T.
Susan Tamanaha2 years ago

I'm not sure if this Care2 site is working properly so here's the link to the Petition that I mentioned earlier: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/742/216/780/stop-shutdowns-and-defaults-with-perry-v-us/

Here is the link to the We The People petition. http://wh.gov/lDZi5

As I said, this is a petition based on legal arguments, not emotions. Please read and, if you are so inclined, sign.

Susan T.
Susan Tamanaha2 years ago

The shutdown cost the American people $29 Billion and Ted Cruz has indicated that he'd be willing to do it again. I'm fed up and so I've prepared a Petition entitled Stop Shutdowns and Defaults with Perry vs U.S The Petition is based on legal, not emotional, arguments. I'm asking everyone on this site to read that Petition. I will also be posting in on to We The People, the White House's petition site. If you're willing to sign, I would prefer if you do it on We The People because the President has in the past responded to several petitions on that site. However, if this site is more convenient, then please use it. And please ask others in your networks to sign as well.

I will be posting this request a few more times throughout the next day or so. Care2's webserver is no longer allowing new email accounts to be set up by newer members like myself so I cannot send any of you a message to thank you for your stars and messages. I can, so far, receive messages so if you need to ask me a question, I'm willing to answer it but you would have to send me your email - you can make up a yahoo or other secondary account so you won't have to disclose your regular email address. Thank you.

Ros G.
Ros G.2 years ago

Thanks Diane..sorry I thought you were responding to the "de-Americanizing bit" which is all about the money..but the dispute is about those Islands and it has been escalating for a while..from Wikipedia "The Senkaku Islands dispute concerns a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, the Diaoyu in China,[1] and Tiaoyutai Islands in Taiwan.[2] Aside from a 1945 to 1972 period of administration by the United States, the archipelago has been controlled by Japan since 1895.[3] The People's Republic of China (PRC) disputed the proposed US handover of authority to Japan in 1971[4] and has asserted its claims to the islands since that time.[5] Taiwan (Republic of China) also claims the islands. The territory is close to key shipping lanes and rich fishing grounds, and there may be oil reserves in the area.[6]"
The next link is a more recent update of events:

Liliana Garcia
Liliana Garcia2 years ago

Borrowing outstanding sums of money to China and Brazil is the answer? Good Grief! USA needs a third alternative asap!