About ten days ago, NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman got to the core of the problem with the national Republican party. When one side opts out of the agreed-to rules of elections and governing in a democracy, the system cannot function effectively. If your attitude is going to be that you take your ball and go home if you don’t get your way, especially if you did not win, then the social contract among representatives and voters breaks down. Republicans in the Congress represent their states and districts, yes, but they also are charged with doing the business of all the people of the United States.
President Obama has made it clear that he’s willing to sign on to a deficit-reduction deal that consists overwhelmingly of spending cuts, and includes draconian cuts in key social programs, up to and including a rise in the age of Medicare eligibility. These are extraordinary concessions. As The Times’s Nate Silver points out, the president has offered deals that are far to the right of what the average American voter prefers — in fact, if anything, they’re a bit to the right of what the average Republican voter prefers!Yet Republicans are saying no. Indeed, they’re threatening to force a U.S. default, and create an economic crisis, unless they get a completely one-sided deal. And this was entirely predictable.
First of all, the modern G.O.P. fundamentally does not accept the legitimacy of a Democratic presidency — any Democratic presidency. We saw that under Bill Clinton, and we saw it again as soon as Mr. Obama took office.
As a result, Republicans are automatically against anything the president wants, even if they have supported similar proposals in the past. Mitt Romney’s health care plan became a tyrannical assault on American freedom when put in place by that man in the White House. And the same logic applies to the proposed debt deals.