Much of the coverage of the government showdown has focused on a relatively small group of hardline conservatives within the Republican caucus who have backed their partyís leaders into a fight they didnít want.
As Ryan Lizza noted in The New Yorker, these lawmakers mostly represent very safe, heavily Republican and disproportionately white districts that donít look much like the rest of the country. Many of those on the front lines are recent arrivals to Capitol Hill, and theyíre pushing a leadership they see as having been too willing to compromise with Democrats in the past.
Itís an important angle. Yet it also obscures what should be an obvious question: Since when do freshmen senators or one- or two-term reps push their congressional leadership around? Historically, itís been the reverse. And since when does a newcomer to the Senate such as Ted Cruz (R-TX) have the right to tell House Republicans what to do? If thereís only a relatively small group of lawmakers who think defunding the law is a dandy idea, why has every budget resolution with such a provision won more than 200 Republican votes in the House of Representatives during the showdown? Why is this supposedly silent majority of Republicans so docile? Why donít they push back?
More at link.
Be sure to click through to the interactive feature.