If you had asked me a week ago what I would have thought the President and the Democrats in Congress would have done when faced with a Republican Party determined to keep the government shut down , I would have told you that they would cave. And I would have told you that all the Republicans would have to do is to threaten a default to extract a series of concessions from the White House.
You see we have seen it too many times before. The President, being "the adult in the room", has given too much when faced with a Republican Party who does not want to give an inch. And how many times after seeing these types of concessions, has there been a whole bunch of diaries on this website talking about how the Democratic Party needs a spine.
But this time I am pleasantly surprised. The President has held firm. And so have the Congressional Democrats. And rather than concessions, we get statements like this from the President a week after the government shutdown:
So here we already went through this once back in 2011. And then, at the end of last year, right after my election, we went through something similar with the so-called fiscal cliff, where Republicans wouldn't negotiate about taxes, despite the fact that taxes actually went up anyway, even though they refused to negotiate. And they could actually have gotten some things from us that they wanted if they had been willing to engage in normal negotiations.
So we've got to stop repeating this pattern. I know the American people are tired of it. And to all the American people, I apologize that you have to go through this stuff every three months, it seems like. And lord knows I'm tired of it. But at some point, we've got to kind of break these habits, and get back to the point where everybody understands that in negotiations there is give and there is take, and you do not hold people hostage or engage in ransom-taking to get 100 percent of your way. . . . I'm not going to breach a basic principle that would weaken the presidency, change our democracy, and do great damage to ordinary people, just in order to go along with what the House Republicans are talking about.
To the President and the Democratic members of Congress, I would like to say thank you. Keep up the good work.