The GOP: “A Party of Nihilists, Anarchists, and Extortionists”?

Despite the massive gerrymander that allowed the Republicans to keep a majority of House seats with a minority of the votes, the “clean” Continuing Resolution (that is, one that doesn’t undo Obamacare) passed by the Senate would pass the House if John Boehner allowed it to come up for a vote (which he might in fact do, at the eleventh hour, though doing so might cost him the Speakership). So the notion that the Republicans have any sort of democratic legitimacy behind their threat to shut down the government and damage the economy unless the rest of us pay them ransom doesn’t pass the giggle test.

Today’s prize for the unintentionally funniest comment goes to Pete Wehner:

Pete Wehner, a former senior aide to President George W. Bush, said a shutdown “would play to the worst stereotypes of the Republican Party as a party of anarchists, nihilists and extortionists—charges that are ludicrously unfair, but have the power to stick.”


OK. I’ll bite. I understand why those charges have the power to stick. But what makes them unfair? If the Republicans don’t want to be thought of as a party of extortionists, here’s a tip: Stop practicing extortion.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

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Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.