I want to begin with a simple quote, a letter from Abraham Lincoln, facing a very similar constellation of forces as president Obama does with today’s nullification party, and sounding remarkably like his 2008 successor from Illinois:
What is our present condition? We have just carried an election on principles fairly stated to the people. Now we are told in advance, the government shall be broken up, unless we surrender to those we have beaten, before we take the offices. In this they are either attempting to play upon us, or they are in dead earnest. Either way, if we surrender, it is the end of us, and of the government. They will repeat the experiment upon us ad libitum.
This is the challenge today. Not to out-last these vandals, but to vanquish them. To vanquish them to end this preposterous excuse for a political party, to expose their lack of any constructive alternatives for the challenges we face, to indelibly mark them as vandals of the very constitution they dare to celebrate, and as saboteurs of this constitutional democracy. We have a chance now to show the kind of scorching sunlight on these creatures of ideological certainty and personal hubris that they scurry back to the dark holes from which they have recently emerged and be consigned to the moral margins their rancid racism finds most congenial.
See you in the morning, if the Republicans allow it.
(Photograph: A U.S. Park Police officer stands guard at the Lincoln Memorial, October 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. The National Mall and all monuments and large sections of the government will close due to government shut down after Congress failed to agree on spending. By Mark Wilson/Getty Images.)