Shutdown's Real Winner: Ideology

It's taking political dysfunction to new heights: Robert Samuelson
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2013 10:44 AM CDT
Shutdown's Real Winner: Ideology
The Capitol in Washington is seen under an overcast sky at dawn, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Ideology has taken over Washington like never before. It explains why Republicans are willing to suffer political blame for the shutdown: It's all connected to what Robert Samuelson has dubbed "the politics of self-esteem." Ideologues on either side of the spectrum believe they're working not for themselves, but for the betterment of the country. That thinking "suggests that you don’t just disagree with your adversaries; you also look down on them as morally inferior."

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And "if politics’ subconscious payoff is higher self-esteem, it makes sense not to cooperate at all," Samuelson notes in the Washington Post. With the shutdown, "tea party types can feel they’ve affirmed their moral courage." As for the left, those pushing ObamaCare already have health insurance, but they're on a crusade for those who don't. "The ACA serves as a platform for them to assert their moral superiority." And when politics is full of people who consider themselves "true believers," it becomes even more dysfunctional. Click for Samuelson's full column. (Read more Robert Samuelson stories.)

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