As a conservative, I enjoy being glib about the government partially shutting down. But the partial government shutdown is now the longest in American history and the time for glib rejoinders is over.
This isn’t a minarchist utopia. The federal government is still big and intrusive. A partial shutdown doesn’t make the government smaller, it just makes it ineffective. Take the TSA, it isn’t being funded, but it also isn’t packing up and going home to allow a private alternative to take place. Millions of travelers just have to be inconvenienced by an even less efficient TSA.
Furthermore, most government employees aren’t political actors. They are janitors, secretaries, Coast Guardsmen, Secret Service agents and others whose lives and families got caught in the middle of a pointless political battle. Some can get temporary jobs, but others– like Secret Service agents and Coast Guardsmen– still have to do their job.
I get Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and others will probably make a big fuss if the President caves, but we are over 35 days in and Democrats have no reason to cave. They are winning. There is a time for politicians to fight for their political agendas and there is a time for politicians to govern responsibly. Now is a time to govern responsibly.