It's official - the government has been shut down.

The Republican Party, in its seemingly endless intransigence, has thrown a procedural hissy fit because they couldn't extort the changes that they couldn't win through the legislative process, through the courts, and through elections.

The Republicans could not subvert the will of the American people through this process. And now is not the time to bend.

When Barack Obama was elected President, he had run against a Republican Party that was in such disarray after the Bush years that there were people discussing whether or not the brand had been so damaged that they should change their name.

Yet not long after, the Republicans reclaimed the house. How?

I introduce to you the tale of the Farmer and the Viper:

ONE WINTER a Farmer found a Snake stiff and frozen with cold.
The snake said to the Farmer:
    "If you pick me up and hold me to your stomach, your body will make me warm."

The Farmer said:
   "If I do that you will bite me."

The Snake answered:
   "Why would I do that if you save me?"

The Farmer had compassion on the Snake, and taking it up, placed it in his bosom.

The Snake was quickly revived by the warmth, and resuming its natural instincts, bit its benefactor, inflicting on him a mortal wound.

   "Oh," cried the Farmer, "Why did you bite me after I saved you?"

   "You knew I was a snake when you picked me up," answered the Snake.

With his last breath the farmer said:
   "I am rightly served for pitying a scoundrel."

We know the Republicans are snakes. So why would we give them an inch when we know they'll just use it to bite us?

The Democrats need to remain on the offensive, even in the face of the government shutdown. It's time to use the GOP's tactics against them, to hoist them on their own petards.

Since the GOP owns the shutdown, why not make a clean debt limit increase a condition of passing the CR at this point? The government is closed. The GOP has lost its bargaining chip.

Let's play hardball, and not in the Chris Matthews sense. It's time to beat the GOP into submission.

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