A live microphone caught a candid behind-the-scenes conversation between Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Wednesday night. The two were discussing a strategy for winning the latest tit-for-tat spat over the governmental shutdown with Democrats.
Initially trying to avoid a conversation because he was wearing a microphone and on standby for an interview, Paul told McConnell that in a recent CNN interview he emphasized Republicans were "willing to compromise, willing to negotiate." McConnell replied that based on a recent meeting with Democrats, there is no evidence that Americans blame Republican obstinance for the shutdown.
A few more words are exchanged back and forth, after which both men express confidence that Republicans can essentially come out of the shutdown predicament on top. It's clear that to them, a Republican win is not for the benefit of the American people, but rather is intended to make them look better than Democrats.
The entire exchange reeks of disingenuity. It clear that Republicans cannot reconcile that willingly disrupting the nation's infrastructure is in direct contradiction to improving it. Paul even says, "We wanted to defund [the Affordable Care Act], we fought for that, but now we're willing to compromise ... and we're going to win this, I think."
Maybe in a make believe world, forcing the worst case scenario and then asking for cooperation to fix it is good, constitutes selflessness, and requires teamwork. However, in reality, it's almost delusional to believe that propelling the government into a shutdown is anything but the opposite of compromise and negotiation.