A nondescript meeting room in the United States Capitol. September, 2015.
Republican Rabble: "WE MUST SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OVER OUR OPPOSITION TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD! BARGLE BARGLE BARGLE!"
John Boehner: "Guys we've been through this a few times already, remember? And remember how it always backfires and we end up looking worse because people like Obama and we kinda come off as a bunch of assholes?"
RR: "….Yeah, but we should do it anyway! BARGLE BARGLE BARGLE!"
JB: "Alright. Look. What is it you hope to accomplish with this?"
RR: "SHUT DOWN THE GUBBERMINT!" ("And defund Planned Parenthood") "AND DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD!"
JB: "OK well the problem is, a government shutdown doesn't really shut down the government, because we have to make a million exceptions to keep running all the parts of the government that it turns out people kind of like. And nothing about gutting PP is ever going to get past the Democrats in the Senate, or Obama. You have probably noticed that like, he doesn't really give a shit anymore. So what is this going to accomplish?"
RR: "WE WILL LOOK STRONG! LEADERSHIP! AMERICANS WILL APPLAUD OUR COURAGE!"
JB: "The most extreme third of the Republican base will applaud your courage, everyone else will think you're like a child who holds his breath every time he doesn't get what he wants. Turns out that isn't exactly electoral gold."
RR: "THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT, BECAUSE PLANNED PARENTHOOD IS EVILLLLLLL!"
JB: "Large majorities of Americans support birth control and abortion. Even most of the ones who talk about how horrible and immoral abortion is secretly hope it stays legal just in case their 15 year old daughter in private school gets knocked up."
JB: "I agree guys, I'm against Planned Parenthood too. But the shutdown is just a game of chicken, and every time we play it we lose. You know exactly what's gonna happen. We're gonna get to the moment of truth and have to choose between burning our own country to the ground or caving and looking like a bunch of pussies. That's the exact opposite of what you said you want to accomplish."
RR: "BARGLE BARGLE BARGLE! YOU FAIL BECAUSE YOU DO NOT BELIEVE!"
JB: "Look I'm just pointing out that we've tried this several times and it never works. We can't do this over and over and expect a different result. Let's try something that hasn't already failed a couple times."
RR: *silence, throat clearing*
"LET'S SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT!"
JB: *grabs temples*
How many times do you think you could tolerate having that conversation? I have no love for John Boehner, who has proven himself over the years to be little more than a stuffed suit and a partisan hack. However, compared to the current House Republican caucus he looks like Alexander Hamilton. He may not be bright and he may be as inspiring as a county board meeting, but it became pretty clear since 2010 that he was one of only a handful of adults in the room when the GOP caucus met. You can only stand in front of a roomful of people who are supposed to represent the highest elected body of the self-declared greatest nation on Earth and explain that, no, you can't do (insert Tea Party agenda item) because it's completely goddamn insane so many times before you'd step back and ask yourself, "What exactly is my motivation to keep doing this?" At some point, arguing with an ideologue becomes indistinguishable from arguing with a four year old. You speak the same language, but no amount of repetition is going to convince them that, no, we can't have ice cream and chicken fingers for dinner and Iron Man cannot live in the basement.