In a post earlier today, I quoted the eminently quotable Jon Chait with this question:
Is there an example in American history of a losing party issuing threats to force the majority party to implement its rejected agenda?
I answered no – at least not on this almighty scale. (Caveats here.) Readers beg to differ:
There is an obvious example: the election and subsequent secession crisis of 1860. The southern Democrats were quite clear with their threats to secede from the Union should Lincoln be elected.
Seeing the Obama presidency as a Cold Civil War of the South against a Northern president does help explain the splenetic rage, and the obvious belief in the illegitimacy of the elected president because of the policies he ran on and won with. Another reader elaborates:
The Southern Strategy, which began as a tactical gambit, now accounts for substantially all Republican rhetoric and policy. So the other party is just that — The Other. The point of making demands is making demands. The point of the resentment is the resentment. The point of not compromising is the emotion and the show of not compromising.
The demands over the debt ceiling don’t even involve debt.
More to the point, there didn’t appear to be all too much Republican anti-government resentment during the George W. Bush Bush presidency, as the GOP pushed for Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, the executive’s asserted power to wiretap and to detain & torture US citizens without charges or a warrant, surpluses turned into deficits, the right in Raich v Gonzales to imprison folks for activity legal under state law, and the invasion for bogus reasons & failed occupation of an arbitrarily selected Middle Eastern country.
But, President Bush was One of Us. The Kenyan anti-colonial secret Muslim? Less so. Hence, insane demands, in the service of taking Our country back from Them.