One attribute of democracy is that losers accept defeat without resorting to the force of arms or destroying the government with which they disagree. Indeed, this is democracy’s essence: the peaceful resolution of conflicts by some mechanism that traces its ultimate authority to the mass of voters.
By threatening to “shut down” the government or reject a needed increase in the federal debt ceiling, many congressional Republicans seem oblivious to these widely embraced norms of behavior. It is not that Republicans have single-handedly caused the unending budget impasse. Far from it. President Obama and congressional Democrats deserve much blame.