There they go again, blaming Republicans for the dance leading to the short-lived government shutdown when clearly the Republicans were not dancing alone and it took two to do that particular tango. Today I’m referring to Molly Ball writing in The Atlantic of the Democrats: “Riding high just weeks ago after Republicans shut down the government, the party now finds itself in a swoon….”
Forget the swoon: what exactly is the evidence that it was Republicans — presumably with no contributions from the Democrats — who “shut down the government”?
For those of you who, like Molly Ball, have forgotten, the shutdown resulted from a failure to agree or compromise by two parties, not just one: the Republicans wanted at first to halt and then to impede the implementation of Obamacare; the Democrats, arguing that “the law of the land” could not be tampered with, refused to agree to any delay of anything.
If the Democrats then had agreed to do what Obama has done now — backtracked and, with no legal justification as usual, agreed to exempt from the mandate all those who have lost their insurance due to the “hardship” that Obamacare’s regulations imposed — there would have been no shutdown. So why keep blaming the Republicans?
Regular readers here will recall that I have discussed a number of times why the habitual blaming of Republicans reflects not just partisan bias but a fundamental misunderstanding of attributing causation, i.e., blame, in explaining controversial events. See the most recent examples of these discussions here, here, here, and here. If you’re really interested in this issue (and how could you not be?), you should also look at two older posts on similar misunderstandings not related to the recent government shutdown, Causation And Our Partisan Civil War (Feb. 2010) and The Causes Of Our Partisan Civil War (Sept. 2012).