Hostages. Bullets. Threatening an economic crisis. You'd be forgiven if you thought these were the words of ISIS or Al Qaeda operatives. But alas, they came from senior leaders of the Republican Party last week.
At a CPAC panel on deficit reduction, Deroy Murdock of the National Review and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA 6) put forth alternative "hostages" to the Dept. of Homeland Security, like the Environmental Protection Agency and IRS, for blocking President Obama's executive orders on immigration. I asked Price to discuss his strategy in more depth afterwards, and at one point, he referred to opportunities to take hostages as "bullets."
In a separate CPAC event with noted immigration opposition leader Jeff Sessions, the senator referred to threatening a national debt default (refusing to raise the debt ceiling) as an "obvious opportunity for Republicans" to advance their agenda. The comment came amidst talk of a Republican messaging response to the Democratic Party's "clean" funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. Mind you, the DHS funding bill was nearing its first deadline that very day -- the shutdown of the agency was imminent. Without apparent resolution in sight, Sessions was already on to the next standoff.
Violent rhetoric against the government is neither new nor uncommon to the Republican Party -- think Grover Norquist's notorious line: "Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub." After winning the mid-terms, GOP leadership promised an end to shutdowns, but the rest of the party didn't seem to get the memo. The manufactured crises that they seem pretty intent on inflicting, as a rule, rather than the exception, are more akin to domestic terrorism than governance.