Richard Crowson: Why The Shutdown?

Oct 11, 2013

Credit Shan213 / Flickr / Creative Commons

Theories abound as to why the Republican Party has shut down our government.

One is that they realize the American public will embrace and love the Affordable Care Act, then vote against all the Republicans who lied to them about it. Well, maybe. It does seem that the more folks know about the details, the better it looks. And, yes, they could then turn on the party that told them it was an evil thing.

But another that intrigues is the theory that this is all an exercise in cynicism. Some believe that the goal of the entire shutdown is to increase disgust with our government. Their wish is that the shutdown will be the last straw for those who have clung to hope that gridlock will eventually subside. All those turned off voters will quit going to the polls. Only the fervent, constantly re-energized conservative base will keep voting. Republicans, and the special interests that fund them, would win under this scenario.

That’s a bleak, depressing viewpoint.

But consider the efforts to repress opposition voter turnout that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is so obviously doing. Consider the computer-generated gerrymandering of voting districts to keep extremist conservatives in office that has been done. It’s not a far stretch to believe these folks would do anything within their power to keep people away from the polls, even taint the entire system in order to turn off part of the voting public.

Why resort to such actions unless you know you cannot win fairly? These are acts of desperation. Hail Mary passes. And the penalty flags are all over the field.