Republicans hurt a lot of people tonight. Workers will get furloughed. Community health centers will shutter their doors. Veterans will have their benefits disrupted. Toxic waste will stop being cleared from Superfund sites.
Make no mistake, the shutdown will cause real pain to millions of real Americans. But here is what makes this different from 2011, different from 1995-1996.
No one believes that conservatism is on the ascendency in this country. There is on tea party uprising this time. Everyone knows Republicans are in a demographic death spiral, and that tantrums like this shutdown are just part of the rattle.
No Democratic leader, or really any Democrat of any notoriety, is saying that Democrats should stop being such extremists and just cave already. On the contrary, Democrats are united behind not negotiating, while droves of prominent Republicans and saying the GOP should and will fold.
The flaccid legacy media, which normally considers matters such as whether humans are causing global climate change purely a matter of “he said, she said” opinion on which they dare not take sides, blames you overwhelmingly for this shutdown.
That's because you are to blame for all this, and you even admit it. Of course, even if you didn't admit it, that doesn't matter. Everyone knows that you take shutting down the government, or destroying our national credit system, or impeaching presidents you can't defeat at the ballot box, as your standard “negotiating” posture. You simply can't operate without extreme confrontation and bullying dramatics. It's just who you are, which goes a long way toward explaining why no one wants to be like you anymore.
This time, we know you can still hurt people, but we also know that we have outgrown you. We are the majority now, and you are the minority. We are not afraid of you anymore.