Andrew Sullivan is going to war. He is not going to war against terrorists or other alien invaders. He is taking up verbal arms against the Republican Party. Victory would not suffice his unhinged mind. He wants total and utter annihilation.
Here, forthwith, Sullivan’s flexing his hate muscles:
This is the challenge today. Not to out-last these vandals, but to vanquish them. To vanquish them to end this preposterous excuse for a political party, to expose their lack of any constructive alternatives for the challenges we face, to indelibly mark them as vandals of the very constitution they dare to celebrate, and as saboteurs of this constitutional democracy. We have a chance now to show the kind of scorching sunlight on these creatures of ideological certainty and personal hubris that they scurry back to the dark holes from which they have recently emerged and be consigned to the moral margins their rancid racism finds most congenial.
When it comes to hate-filled rhetoric Sullivan counts among the best.
To buttress his mindless passion Sullivan evokes the example of the American Civil War. He sees today’s Republicans as kin to the secessionist South and quotes Abraham Lincoln:
What is our present condition? We have just carried an election on principles fairly stated to the people. Now we are told in advance, the government shall be broken up, unless we surrender to those we have beaten, before we take the offices. In this they are either attempting to play upon us, or they are in dead earnest. Either way, if we surrender, it is the end of us, and of the government. They will repeat the experiment upon us ad libitum.
Many Republicans believe that their Congressional leadership overreached. Well and good. It happens. People overreach all the time. If the opposing party wants to find a way out of the crisis it need but offer something resembling a negotiation.
Why does it refuse to do so? Because it is thinking like Andrew Sullivan. It does not want to make a deal; it wants to destroy the opposition.
Sullivan’s rhetoric is obviously overheated, but it channels the attitude underlying the Obama/Reid approach to the problem.
It precludes negotiation. If someone treats you like the devil, not like the loyal opposition, you will not be able to negotiate… at all, about anything. If you are being denounced as a racist and a sexist and a homophobe and a demonic force you are not going to make a deal. It’s impossible.
If we get beyond Sullivan’s intemperate rant and if we have a better sense of historical analogy than he does—admittedly, not too great a challenge—we can take a look at the facts about previous government shutdowns.
Andrew Stiles wrote in National Review:
At this point in Ronald Reagan’s second term, for example, the government had already shut down six times, for a total of twelve days, as a result of failed budget negotiations between the White House, a Republican Senate, and House Democrats under the leadership of Speaker Tip O’Neill (D., Mass.) — precisely the opposite of the political dynamic that exists today.
O’Neill presided over a total of seven government shutdowns under Reagan, and five during the Jimmy Carter administration, meaning that he played a role in precisely two-thirds of all the government shutdowns since the modern budgeting process has been in place. Representative Raul Labrador (R., Idaho) pointed this out to Matthews on Meet the Press on Sunday, noting that O’Neill was never called a terrorist for shutting the government down over budget negotiations.
In truth, the Obama administration and satraps like Andrew Sullivan have been a lot kinder toward terrorists than they are toward Republicans. As has often been pointed out, they are willing to negotiate with the ayatollahs in Iran. They are willing to negotiate with Bashar Assad through Vladimir Putin. They were positively fawning over the Muslim Brotherhood.
But they draw the line at Republicans.
It’s the wages of hate.