So former Bush-the-Lesser henchman Mark Thiessen disapproves of what he rightly calls the hostage-taking strategy of Cruz, Boehner & Co.: because they’re threatening the wrong hostage. Instead of just threatening to shut down the government, they ought to be threatening to smirch the honor and wreck the credit of the United States of America by defaulting, and in the process throw the world economy into a tailspin, because given that threat, according to Thiessen, the President would have to capitulate.
Thuggish behavior is nothing new in American politics. But the adoption of this sort of thuggish language hasn’t been seen since the run-up to secession.
Most political reporters haven’t noticed it yet, or at least won’t say so out loud, but this is no longer normal politics. This is civil war conducted (for now) by non-violent means. Unless the voters wake up and massively punish the Republican Party for putting the country through this, the constitutional system which has served us pretty damned well for two-plus centuries is under actual and immediate threat.
Of the many wise and witty remarks attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the finest was his answer to a woman who asked him, as he emerged from the final session of the Constitutional Convention (which conducted its business in secret), “Well, Dr. Franklin? What is it to be? A monarchy, or a republic?” Franklin replied, “A republic, madam: if you can keep it.”
As things are shaping up right now, the 2014 elections may be as important as those in 1800 or 1860. That’s not a good thing. But since it’s the case, we need every patriot – every lover of the work of 1789 – to get angry, and get energized, around the project of keeping the Republic.