In the wake of the 16-day curtailing of government functions and the Republican squabbling that accompanied it, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow argued on Thursday, the Democrats have the chance to grab a wider platform from which to make their case for government as a positive.
“The ‘evil of government’ era is over,” Maddow said. “Democrats right now have the luxury of both unity and clarity of vision.”
Maddow noted that, even if they did so in different tones, President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senator-elect Cory Booker (D-NJ) all argued that “preach that good governance and technocratic good stewardship of the government is an appropriate way to repay the American peoples’ trust in electing you.”
This kind of rhetoric, Maddow said, was a change from the Republican-dominated narrative of the past 30 years, which posited that government was something to be minimized and criticized for political gain.
“Even Democratic President Bill Clinton won the presidency by accepting that Republican narrative,” Maddow pointed out, saying Clinton’s campaign ran “against government, saying that even as a Democrat, he would shrink government, get government out of peoples’ way, government needed to be reinvented.”
Maddow also suggested that it would be in the Democrats’ interest to help the “non-anarchistic wing” of the GOP win more battles against the Tea Party lawmakers who instigated the impasse, a theory NBC News historian Michael Beschloss supported.
“Power corrupts, but sometimes lack of power corrupts even more,” Beschloss observed of the minority of Tea Party-affiliated Republicans. “[And] they do what they did for the last two weeks in causing this government shutdown. If you feel that the wave is coming your direction, you benefit by having a system in which the fights are fought fairly because you’re likely to win.”
Watch Maddow examine the Democrats’ new post-shutdown position, as aired Thursday on MSNBC, below.