I don’t like Republican establishment pundits or even quasi-apostates like David Frum, but when I agree with their analysis of the looming shutdown, that it’s a Tea Party temper tantrum that will hurt the Republican party and the country. That makes sense, because (a) it will hurt the Republican party and the country and (b) these guys care about the Republican party and (to a lesser extent) the country.
Ron Fournier, Mark Halperin, and most other “ostensibly nonpartisan pundits” are most likely Republicans who consider themselves moderates. To the extent that they have policy opinions, they are in line with those of establishment Republicans (don’t shut down the government but do try to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and other social programs), but they, like the teahadists, are ultimately nihilists. Tea Parties don’t want to govern, they just want to destroy things. Ostensibly nonpartisan pundits don’t care what’s in the budget, they just want it to be a centrist bipartisan compromise. If the Republicans wanted to eat all the Irish babies, and the Democrats opposed cannibalism, Fournier and the rest would wonder why Obama couldn’t lead by agreeing to eat half the Irish babies…and then claim that Reagan, Tip, James Baker, and Gene Sperling would all agree to eat half (never mind that Ted Cruz wouldn’t accept this compromise).
Compromise for the sake of compromise, by any means necessary, isn’t even an ethos. These men are cowards.