What's Wrong With Republicans? Outside of Nothing?

What's Wrong With Republicans? Outside of Nothing?

By Eugene S. Robinson

National Park Service park ranger Richard Trott walks through the Korean War Veterans Memorial with a closed sign he removed in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013.
SourceAndrew Harrer/Getty Images


Because sticking to your guns make sense if all you care about is sticking to your guns.

By Eugene S. Robinson

The pre- and post-government shutdown press is aflame with chatter about Republican party dysfunction. Start typing in “What’s wrong with…” and Google will practically finish the query for you: ”… Republicans?” When I did it a few days ago, the first article was from The American Conservative no less, excoriating the Party for its lack of results. 

Or rather, the lack of the right results insofar as party regulars are concerned. So let’s tote it all up: 17-day government shutdown, 11th hour debt ceiling imbroglio, and countless internal struggles within the GOP on how to end it including a John McCain “can’t we all get along?” moment. The upshot for their efforts and our pain? To quote Michael Corleone, ”My final offer is this: nothing.”

Recent Gallup polls show their favorability rating at a historically low 28 percent, and their job approval rating is trending even lower. Meanwhile, the party hasn’t made any big strides on their signature issues, losing ground on gay marriage, tax breaks for the 1 percent and the thing that kicked the whole kerfuffle off, Obamacare.

But in a case of not missing the forests for the trees, their success in one major regard has been overlooked, even if it is just temporary.

Smaller government.

Elephant sitting steps with American flag

Smaller? Better?

What better way to achieve that than by breaking the government into smaller non-functioning pieces. The fact that the U.S. government was partially shut down for 17 days and the planet still spun was proof enough for some that more of this is better and the torpedoes be damned.

It’s going to take a while for the full impact of the shutdown to be known, whether it’s the impact on the GOP or how it’s hurt the country. Current estimates show an early loss of $24 billion dollars. Think of what we could’ve done with all that money. 

And consider this study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which shows that 23 percent of American children living in extreme poverty reside in Republican controlled states. But for now? I guess we can be happy that the few legislators responsible for this shutdown are politicians of grand conviction, even if that conviction was almost the ultimate undoing of this more perfect union.