THE BLOG
10/04/2013 12:14 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

The President and Democrats Need to Stand Tough

Some centrist analysis has begun to suggest that Democrats need to somehow compromise on the government shutdown to allow John Boehner to save face.

Here is what USA Today had to say:

As the government shutdown enters its fourth day, Obama and White House officials will have to weigh carefully just how hard they want to push Boehner, who is under intense pressure from the most conservative lawmakers in his party to not capitulate to a president who says he will not negotiate over either a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open or the looming debt limit. In the end, political analysts say, it is in the interest of the White House to find a way for Boehner to emerge out of the crisis with some credibility ...

Forgive me, but this is rubbish. The Republican-led House of Representatives, led by Boehner, told Democrats, "Either you postpone the Affordable Care Act (duly passed by Congress, upheld by the Supreme Court and, in essence, ratified again by the electorate in the last presidential election) or we will shut down the country."

Then, they did just that, creating great hardship for millions of Americans. And no, I don't mean just the nice people who want to visit national parks or the federal workers losing paychecks. Among others, there also are all the small business people who cater to tourists across the country, the poor kids who are losing out on Head Start, the elderly who rely on federally subsidized Meals on Wheels programs.

The list goes on.

Now "political analysts" want the Democrats to rescue John Boehner, to be sensitive to the "difficult position" he's in? Bull-doey. He created this mess. He needs to eat crow and fix it.

The Republican Party is now controlled by a core group of extortionists. If they emerge from this standoff with any sense that extortion works -- and it has before -- they will return to the same tactic again, and again, and again. Compromise is never compromise when one side is intractable in its extremism and the other -- the Democratic majority by the way -- is always expected to "give a little." For what? To encourage the Congress to be even more dysfunctional? To punish the people time and time again? To cut more programs for everyone but the bloated fat cats who inevitably gain the most from government largesse?

I am not worried about John Boehner losing his speakership. Good riddance. If a more extreme figure takes over in the House, it is only a matter of time before the Republican Party fractures from within or the American electorate recognizes that the Grand Old Party is increasingly serving no one but a growing flock of self-deluded conspiracy theorists.

The fiasco that is America this week can be summed up quite simply. By the government's reckoning, it is an essential service to keep air traffic controllers working. That way business can continue as usual, the markets don't get too roiled, people can take their vacations. By the government's reckoning not it is not an essential service to give 8.9 million poor mothers the milk and cheese they need to feed their infants, to prevent malnourishment, to keep those kids from starving. So the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, has been shut down.

What is wrong with this picture? Everything.