From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:
“The White House got rolled on Friday by Nancy Pelosi, to be sure. But it also got rolled by TSA agents, and air-traffic controllers, government employees standing at food co-ops and pantries, as well as thousands of inconvenienced ordinary Americans standing in line at airports. This is more important than the fact that the president* got beaten again by the new-slash-old Speaker of the House.
It was said by more than a few people that the shutdown would prove to be an alpha test for small government. Instead, it became a demonstration that 40 years of that kind of thinking may finally have run out of energy. Without necessarily meaning to do so, those thousands of Americans made the opposite case by standing in all those lines. Without necessarily meaning to do so, those thousands of Americans decided that government was the solution, and not the problem, at least as far as getting from the ticket counter to the jet way.
I’m stressing the whole air-traffic business because that’s where the long slide toward Trumpism began. When Ronald Reagan broke the controllers’ union, he signaled that the federal government was a) open for business, and b) on the side of management, and therefore on the side of capital and not labor, and the Republican Party committed itself to that equation as a matter of faith. Simultaneously, it adopted supply-side economics as its only real policy in that area. And that’s where it’s been since 1981. Until, I suspect, maybe, now.
This particular moment can go either way. It is tenuous and there still are pretty good odds that it may be an evanescent one. It may even be a kind of mirage created by a preposterous president* who seems bound and determined to bring the temple down on his own head. Or he may be the inadvertent catalyst for a renewed faith in our political commonwealth. It’s not often in our history that we have had this kind of chance to see what we shouldn’t ever be. (The last one may well have been the Confederate States of America.) A teachable moment, as it were.”