Friday, September 27, 2013

Jonathan Chait: Republicans Must Force Obama to Accept GOP Agenda Precisely Because Voters Rejected It in 2012

Jonathan Chait points out that the Republicans have to try to force their will on the nation in the debt-ceiling war precisely because they lost and lost big in 2012:

Republicans need to compel Obama to accept their agenda, not in spite of the fact that the voters rejected it at the polls but precisely for that reason.

For Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, the direct assault of the Republican party on American democracy in the debt-ceiling war brings the nation to "one of the most dangerous points in our history" and echoes the break-up of the union during the Civil War. In my view, Harkin's rhetoric is not hyperbolic: it is precisely what the threats are all about. 

Either the nation accedes to the demands of a thuggish minority that refuses to accept the will of the majority, or that thuggish majority minority* will blow up the American union. There is no other way to read the determination of that minority to refuse to accept a legitimately elected president who won a large majority of the popular vote in the last election. And there is no other way to read its threats to destroy the nation's economic life unless it gets its way.

*Thanks to Chris Morley for pointing out my mistake here with the word "majority" when I meant "minority."

The graphic: a woodcut from The World Turned Upside Down, or No News, and Strange News (York, England: J. Kendrew, [1820?]), online as a Project Gutenberg eBook.

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