My question is, how did this happen?
As it usually is with American pop culture, I believe that the answer is driven by media. On most of the cable news programming (not named Fox News), the Republicans seem to have borne the brunt of the blame. But why? The easy answer is that Republicans always get beat up on the cable shows… but I think that there is more to it than that. I believe that most of the talking heads “knew” that Democrats wouldn’t budge or negotiate, so the Republicans should have just caved.
Since the start of the effort to “defund Obamacare,” the Democrats have been claiming that the GOP is advocating for government shutdown, even though every GOP representative who was asked plainly, said they were against a shutdown. The GOP’s goal, of course, was to get Obamacare delayed, defunded or destroyed. While the Democrats may disagree with that motivation, that does not mean that Republicans want to shut down the government.
What’s happened is, the media has decided to carry the water for Democrats on Obamacare (which is no surprise). We now have members of the media saying things like “Obamacare is a law. Get used to it.” I am sure that no media member would say the same thing about many of the terrible laws our government has written in years passed. Segregation, prohibition, alien and sedition acts, and so many others that are today seen by the majority of people as bad legislation. No one would expect members of government not to fight these laws… simply because they were law! It’s a ridiculous argument.
The most egregious problem with the shutdown narrative, though, is this: Republicans are being blamed even with President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid both saying, “We won’t negotiate.” The Republicans in the House are saying that they are happy to negotiate, that they are willing to sacrifice many things they want… but somehow it’s the Republicans forcing the shutdown? The media has played its hand, they’ve shown their cards… what they expect is for the Republicans in the House to simply give the Democrats in the Senate and White House everything they want. The sad part is that the House will probably do that. House Republicans (and Senate Republicans) are scared to own the shutdown because they are tired of being labeled the Party that doesn’t negotiate (even if the label isn’t true).