Train wreck at Montparnasse - 1895
To the Washington Post, the building would share the blame
There are two fundamental problems with the Washington Post editorial board: the first is that it literally defines the toxic false narrative that Democrats must work with, or preferably appease, even the most recklessly extreme Republicans, lest they be equally at fault for the political and policy disasters such reckless extremism inevitably creates; and the second is that because it publishes in the nation's capital, the Post is read and taken seriously by so many of the people we are cursed to endure as this nation's public opinion makers.

In a jawdroppingly insipid analysis of the current government shutdown crisis, the Post actually presents some solid analysis, then dutifully turns that analysis inside out and upside down, which is the only means possible for the promotion of its beloved, albeit relentlessly false narrative. The Post doesn't waste any time getting it wrong. It starts with the headline:

U.S. Congress’s dereliction of leadership on government shutdown
Get it? It's the fault of Congress, not just one political party. The blame is shared.

The editorial please proceeds by acknowledging that everyone now expects the shutdown, and that some hope to capitalize off it, politically. That much is obvious. Everyone does now expect a shutdown, and everyone is trying to figure out how it will play, politically. But those who seek to capitalize off it are those causing it. Those not causing it may indeed hope the political fallout works out in their favor, but they're not hoping to find out. They're hoping to keep the government functioning. They're hoping those trying to cause the shutdown don't succeed.

More of the Post's tortured logic below the fold.

The Post then makes clear that it rightfully, and transparently self-righteously, takes the threat of shutdown seriously. Feel the umbrage:

Yes, defaulting on the U.S. debt would be worse than shutting down the government. But both represent such recklessly, breathtakingly, wastefully irresponsible derelictions of leadership that the people who run this town ought to be ashamed of themselves if either comes to pass. Moreover, we are not reassured by the argument that a shutdown would make a default, which could come in mid-October, less likely.
Which is, itself, decent analysis. We do face a serious crisis. We do face a potentially serious series of crises. As we have ever since the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives in 2011. The Post points to the slow implosion of functional government process, but of course it doesn't assign blame. It points specifically to the current threatened crisis, and even recognizes the primary dynamic:
Republican Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, caving to a few dozen backbenchers who would rather blow things up than govern, has insisted that any such bill contain Obamacare poison pills that neither the Senate nor President Obama will accept. The Senate may say no, for a second time, on Monday, at which point the House can endorse a clean spending bill or let the government go over the cliff.

This prospect may not trouble some of the freshmen conservatives with few government workers in their district and little respect for what government does, but we would hope Mr. Boehner would have compassion for the thousands of moderately paid breadwinners who would find themselves in very difficult circumstances. We would hope he would be troubled by how a shutdown would disrupt research at the National Institutes of Health and safety inspections at the Food and Drug Administration, and by the lasting damage inflicted abroad as the United States comes to be seen as an unreliable laughingstock rather than a bulwark of its alliances.

Which is as clearly elucidated as is possible. The Republicans are at fault. Period. Boehner is caving to his party's fringe extremists, who are threatening to blow up the government unless the Democrats agree to policy demands that would essentially negate the results of last year's elections. The Post even acknowledges that those extremists constitute no more than a few dozen of Boehner's own caucus's backbenchers. Indeed, it is clear that if Boehner were just to allow a vote on a clean bill, such as the Democratic controlled Senate already has passed, there would be enough bipartisan votes in the House to send it to the White House and end the potential crisis before it even begins. And after all, bipartisanship is what the Post is supposed to be championing, right?  

This crisis is wholly the responsibility of Boehner and a few dozen Republican backbenchers. That's it. And all that needs to happen is for Boehner to tell them no, and to allow the full House to vote. There is enough bipartisan support to pass a clean bill. The problem could not be more clear. Even by the Post editorial board's own analysis. Which somehow leads the Post to this:

Ultimately, the grown-ups in the room will have to do their jobs, which in a democracy with divided government means compromising for the common good.
Neck snap. What?
That means Mr. Boehner, his counterpart in the Senate, Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), minority leaders Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the president.
So, if Boehner is wholly responsible for creating this crisis, by catering to the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, Democratic leaders nevertheless will share responsibility for the consequences because they won't accommodate him and negotiate? Even though their proposed clean bill enjoys the bipartisan support the Post is supposed to champion? Extrapolate the "logic": if you don't compromise with kidnappers, terrorists, or rogue states, you are not doing your job, and presumably share responsibility for the inevitable carnage.
Both sides are inordinately concerned with making sure that, if catastrophe comes, the other side takes the political hit.
Of course they are. The Republicans are inordinately concerned because they have created the potential for catastrophe and don't want to be blamed for their own foul deeds. Democrats are inordinately concerned because they are trying to be sensible and responsible and don't think accommodating crazed idiots who play political brinksmanship is a healthy way to govern.
In truth, none of their reputations stands to benefit.
Not if the Washington Post editorial board has any say, anyway. Because even though its own analysis places the blame squarely on the shoulders of John Boehner for catering to but a few dozen extremist backbench Republicans, it has to play the false equivalency game, and pretend that both sides are doing it. Just one paragraph after it clearly explained that the crisis is due to John Boehner, for catering to but a few dozen extremist backbench Republicans. But should Boehner's belligerence indeed force the government shutdown, the Post is ready to scold and caterwaul and point fingers at bipartisan failure, because that is all the Post is capable of doing. Facts don't matter. Honesty doesn't matter. Its own concise analysis doesn't matter.

If the Post had any integrity, if it really took this crisis as seriously as it self-righteously claims, it would conclude the only logical way its own analysis could. The Senate has taken responsibility by passing a clean bill. The House as a whole is ready to take responsibility and pass a clean bill. President Obama is eager to take responsibility by signing a clean bill. One man is preventing everyone else from taking responsibility, and his name is John Boehner. It's all in his hands. But by convoluting logic in search of its own false narrative of bipartisan recklessness, when there's actually bipartisan support for responsibility, the Post proves that it does not take this crisis seriously. The Post proves that it is no more serious than are John Boehner and those few dozen Republican backbenchers who would rather blow things up than govern.

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