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real men and realpolitik

It puzzles me that any Republican would honestly expect the Democrats to cave on Obamacare as a price for keeping the government running.

If the roles were reversed, the Republicans certainly wouldn't give an inch. Not only because they've become the party of "never giving an inch," but for a better reason: as every red-blooded Real American (i.e. Republican) knows, if you give in to terrorists once, it makes you look weak and encourages further terrorist attacks. Especially if the next terrorist attack is not only likely but actually scheduled for two weeks later.

So why are the House Republicans behaving as they are? Several possible answers, which probably all apply variously to different Representatives:

(a) They don't actually believe the Democrats will cave, they just want credit with "the base" for fighting to the end and refusing to compromise. The more dramatic the results, the more impressive the people who brought them about will be. Actually achieving anything other than re-election, book contracts, and speakers' fees is irrelevant.

(b) They believe Democrats (unlike Real Americans) are sufficiently wimpy that they will give in to terrorist demands, and will do it again two weeks later. (There's some evidence for this, but I don't think there's enough to realistically expect both the Senate and Obama to cave, which is what it would take.)

(c) They're honestly incapable of putting themselves into somebody else's shoes and imagining what they would do in that position. Which makes them not only heartless but ineffective: any general who couldn't predict the opposing general's actions wouldn't win a lot of battles.


See my most recent entry.