Douthat on the Shutdown

From NYTimes:

However you slice and dice the history, the strategery, and the underlying issues, the decision to live with a government shutdown for an extended period of time — inflicting modest-but-real harm on the economy, needlessly disrupting the lives and paychecks of many thousands of hardworking people, and further tarnishing the Republican Party’s already not-exactly-shiny image — in pursuit of obviously, obviouslyunattainable goals was not a normal political blunder by a normally-functioning political party. It was an irresponsible, dysfunctional and deeply pointless act, carried out by a party that on the evidence of the last few weeks shouldn’t be trusted with the management of a banana stand, let alone the House of Representatives….

So for undeluded conservatives of all persuasions, lessons must be learned. If the party’s populists want to shape and redefine and ultimately remake the party, they can’t pull this kind of stunt again. If the party’s leadership wants to actually lead, whether within the G.O.P. or in the country at large, they can’tlet this kind of stunt be pulled again. That’s the only way in which this pointless-seeming exercise could turn out to have some sort of point: If it’s long remembered, by its proponents and their enablers alike, as the utter folly that it was.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Rick

    “It was an irresponsible, dysfunctional and deeply pointless act…”

    But as Coke Roberts pointed out, the Tea Party members are doing just fine back in their own districts. Digging in their heals is what fired up the group, and will probably get those members re-elected.

    “If the party’s leadership wants to actually lead, whether within the G.O.P. or in the country at large, they can’t let this kind of stunt be pulled again.”
    That is the other side of the coin. The party is divided, and a strong leader needs to emerge to get a handle on it.

  • Samuel Burr

    I fear this will be repeated but hope not. It has been effective for drawing attention from challenges such as immigration reform, only one of many, that need to be addressed. So as a strategy to block reforms by the current administration it has unfortunately in my view proven to be very effective. One thing that I can see that would diminish the possibility of this continuing to be a policy of the opposition party is for a severe rebuke of that party in the upcoming elections of 2014, and this is not likely but is more possible than it was prior to this debacle.

  • KenS

    These recent events are a glowing example of unrestrained American individualism. The Tea Party has freely muddied the reputation of the party it uses as its platform for the advancement of its own “agenda.”

  • Kyle J

    More likely, you’re going to see a battle royale between an establishment candidate (Christie/Jeb) and a Tea Party type (Paul/Cruz) in 2016. If the Tea Party guy wins the nomination but loses the general election, then things will change. Until then, every major governance decision (e.g. immigration reform) will hinge on John Boehner deciding whether to get things done in the House with mostly Dem votes.

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    Actually I applaud the Republican party for opposing the rise of universal healthcare which is nothing other than a forerunner of the coming of the anti-Christ which will bring about the oblivion of the world.

    I know that God’s secret will is that this occurs very early so that He can gloriously return, remember that He has a revealed will too and this is the only one we are allowed to foster.

    I find it heartbreaking that so many Christians waste their time with details such as reducing the inequalities between poor and rich children.

    If we don’t oppose the fag-enabling agenda, how are we suppose to be any better than godless liberals?

  • Nathan

    I’m hoping this is an attempt at satire.

  • Andrew Dowling

    Knowing his other posts I’m pretty certain it is.

  • RustbeltRick

    The author says the shutdown’s damage was “modest”, so I guess even when Republicans try to talk sense into a situation, they manage to twist facts and minimize the horror of what they do, say and believe. Completely shutting down government makes perfect sense for a people who have absolutely no perspective on modern life and contemporary politics; a people who see a 1.2 percent tax increase as creeping socialism; who see the effort to cut down on the number of uninsured as a negative thing; who traffic in lies like Death Panels yet claim to be God’s Party. They’ve used scorched-earth rhetoric for decades, and we’re surprised that they actually lived up to their rhetoric these last few weeks? This will happen again, as long as they continue to repeat the same destructive nonsense to each other in their churches and on radio and cable TV.


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