Here Is the Short GOP Quote That Perfectly Defines the Shutdown

Forty-eight hours into the negotiations, one Republican stalwart's official position is that he has no idea what he's negotiating for.

The government shutdown debate used to be about something specific: Linking the government's funding to Obamacare's defunding. Now it's about something else. But what? 

“We’re not going to be disrespected,” conservative Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., [told the Washington Examiner]. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

And I don’t know what that even is.

On the one hand, you could say it's just a throwaway line. Representatives say empty, tired things every day. But quotes have a life of their own, and this one is already being hailed online as the perfect embodiment of the GOP's bargaining position: Equal parts resolution and deep confusion. Forty-eight hours into the shutdown negotiations, one Republican stalwart's official position is that he no longer has any idea what he's negotiating for.

The disrespect sentiment echoes vintage Newt Gingrich, who famously bragged in 1995 to have shut down the government partly because President Clinton forced him to sit in the back of Air Force One on a trip to Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral. “It’s petty,” Gingrich said then, “but I think it’s human.”

Thursday is day three of the shutdown. Something will end the stalemate. Who knows what that even is.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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