Well folks, thanks to unprecedented Republican obstructionism, the federal government here in D.C. and around the country has shut down today for the first time in 17 years. If you're one of those people who still thinks that both parties are responsible for that, congratulations: you're part of the problem.
House Republicans refused to fund the federal government unless Senate Democrats and the President agreed to delay the individual mandate -- the key component in the Affordable Care Act, a law passed in 2010 -- by an additional year. If this sounds like blackmail, you're right. Democrats understandably refused to negotiate with political terrorists, so here we are: the incomes of more than 800,000 federal workers have stopped because congressional Republicans would rather take potshots at the President than actually govern.
Here's the thing: Republicans opposed the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010, yet it passed both houses of Congress and it was signed into law. They stood against it in the midterms but failed to retake the Senate. They stood against it in the states and in the courts, but the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality. They stood against it in the 2012 presidential election and lost. And they stood against it over 40 times in the House of Representatives, at a cost to taxpayers of approximately $1.45 million per vote... and lost.
So what Republicans are doing now is the most disgusting form of legislative hostage-taking: refusing to do even their most basic jobs and shutting the whole thing down in order to force concessions that they failed to get through democratic means in any of the three branches of government. They are taking hostages because they cannot accept the fact that despite nearly four years of blatant obstructionism, they have failed at their objectives and the voters have consistently refused to give them the power they needed to achieve them.
This isn't about two parties taking different positions in good faith but needing to find common ground. It's about one party that's flawed, of course, but operating in good faith through democratic means, while the other has been hijacked by extremists with absolutely no regard for even the basic functions of government. It's about the Republican Party's dangerously unhinged inability to recognize the reality of the world in which we live, and their refusal to do the jobs that they were elected to do.
And don't give me all that "Democrats would do the same thing" crap either.
In 2007 nearly 150 House Democrats voted to defund the Iraq war, then voted to increase the debt limit later that same year. Did Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats threaten to shut down the government or refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless the GOP gave them what they wanted? No, they did not, even though nearly 2/3 of the American people agreed with their opposition to the Iraq war.
So anyone who says Democrats would do the same thing as the Republicans have chosen to do today doesn't have the faintest clue what they're talking about. The shoe has been on the other foot, and when it was, the Democrats chose to act like adults and do their jobs. The same cannot be said of the Republican Party.