The Tea Party Republicans in Congress have been using the 2011 budget as a way to extort the rest of Congress and the President into agreeing to their various demands. They have been using short extensions to ensure that in a few weeks they can have another showdown where they get to add more demands. Currently they are demanding more cuts than others want, and they are even adding abortion and the environment into the budget mix.
Many have speculated about who wins politically from a shutdown. I am not sure the answer to that question, but I certainly know that the Tea Party wants to shut down the government. Their entire premise is that government is the root of all ills and evil. The want to shrink the size of government so that all it does is fight wars and put police and firefighters on the streets. Their vision of paradise resembles a banana republic where the government protects the property of and serves the interests of the rich.
It’s as if the Tea Party has now kidnapped the government, and we see the rest of our elected officials negotiate for the release of that hostage. We have seen this before. Back when right-wing Republicans stormed the capitol with their Contract for America, they tried this tactic of holding the government hostage. Thankfully, they were not successful that time to get their way. If the Tea Party gets their way this time rather than settling for a compromise, then we can be sure that this small band of legislators will spend the next two years using any sort of threat they can muster to try to remake America into their image.
If this band of spoiled brats get their way by pitching a fit, this will likely lead to a precedent for other minority groups to adopt the strategy of no compromise to get their way as well. If we lose our willingness to compromise with those who are different, then we lose one of the most precious things about America.