Chris Graham: Negotiate, or else

Democrat vs. Republican on whiteWe’ve got your daughter. We don’t want anything bad to happen. But you want to negotiate, we’re ready to negotiate.

Isn’t that what it feels like Republicans are doing in this increasingly insane government shutdown fiasco?

They’re calling it negotiation. Sure, at the point of a bayonet.

“The president’s position that we’re not going to sit down and talk to you until you surrender is just not sustainable,” House Speaker John Boehner said today.

What’s not sustainable is the GOP is telling us that the president and Democrats are playing unfair by insisting that the shutdown is ended and the full faith and credit of the United States government is maintained before Republicans and Democrats can have a give-and-take over budget issues.

Because here’s what they’re saying – we want to use the shutdown and a possible default on our bills as a negotiating tactic.

Otherwise, what’s the big deal?

“Unless we have major reforms to the way our government spends, I’m not going to sign some blank check for irresponsible policy,” said Arizona Republican Congressman Matt Salmon, who at least is a straight-shooter when it comes to this nonsense.

There’s a reason the polls on this are so bad and getting worse for Republicans. Aside from the most stringent among the Tea Party set, most folks aren’t good with seeing the electeds playing politics with their paychecks, their mortgage payments, their rent checks, their groceries, their gas tanks.

You want to score points with the base by getting the president and Harry Reid offer up some sort of olive branch? Go for it, just don’t put my business at risk. You want to protect your slim House majority by kneecapping liberals heading into the 2014 election cycle? Have at it. Just not by putting my job on the line.

That said, there are serious discussions that need to be had about the federal budget and issues related to the national debt, short-term and long-term. This just isn’t the way to have those discussions – with a manmade economic calamity as one of the possible consequences if one of the two sides doesn’t get its way.

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