It was a bittersweet blow that House Democrats delivered to the Bomb-throwing Caucus yesterday: sweet because it was decisive, but bitter in its inconstancy.
Pelosi's Thermopylae-like stand against the bungling forces of nihilism was a thing of resolute beauty. I doubted her forces had it in them. As Politico puts it, "In the past, Democrats have thrown Boehner a lifeline … when the speaker couldn’t scare up the votes" to execute even the most basic functions of governance. Yesterday, "they showed the GOP what it feels like when they refuse."
House Republicans stood alone — humiliated, defeated, exposed as the utterly incompetent cutthroats they are.
Only one strategy will dynamite Republicans from their monstrous locus of power: the Dems' unremitting resistance. In the GOP's morbid mind, proper American governance means a party of one — which of course must be their party; pluralism, aisle-crossing and compromise need never apply. As the minority party, they skirmished as a brutish and monolithic whole, and they promised to govern that way as the majority. Just give them a chance, they said to voters. The voters, mostly through omission, did. And yesterday, briefly, we saw the result: chaos, confusion, and the subordination of national-security needs to Republicans' characteristic political pettiness.
Someday, such pettiness will imperil the nation more permanently. Crisis-to-crisis "governance" cannot stand; critical departments and their agencies charged with the protection or general welfare of the American citizenry simply cannot function on a staggering, week-to-week basis. In brief, no party can run the world's oldest and mightiest republic like a tinhorn banana operation without, in time, there being hell to pay.
If that party tries, but finds it can stumble through and survive only because of unmerited lifelines being thrown by those it abuses, then the danger accumulates and national catastrophe awaits. It requires guts and a gritty resolve by the conscientious resistance, but those lifelines must be withheld and the offending party be allowed to go down. Otherwise, someday we'll surely stumble our way into that awaiting catastrophe.
Yesterday, with House Republicans flailing and splashing about in their petty distress, the lifeline came. "Your vote tonight [for not three weeks but merely one week of DHS funding; the House actually went backward] will assure that we will vote for full funding next week," announced Pelosi to her plucky band of resisters.
But guess what? Sure enough, you guessed it: "It’s her opinion, there is no agreement," replied a typically ungrateful Boehner spokesman.
Grover Norquist was more right than he knew when he once mused that government should be drowned in a bathtub. His only error was that he had the wrong government in mind.