When Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) appeared on ABC’s "This Week" on Sunday, host George Stephanopoulos asked him point blank if it was appropriate to "hold the government hostage."
Following that question, Stephanopoulos played a clip from 2013 in which Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) castigated Republicans over the government shutdown:
SCHUMER: It’s sort of like this. Someone goes into your house, takes your wife and children hostage, and then says: "Let’s negotiate over the price of your house." You know, we could do the same thing on immigration. We believe strongly in immigration reform. We could say: "We’re shutting down the government; we’re not gonna raise the debt ceiling until you pass immigration reform." It would be governmental chaos.
Stephanopoulos then asked Durbin, "So aren’t you all creating chaos now?"
George, you’ve got to concede one thing, and that is the Republicans are in control of this government. They control the White House; they control the Senate; they control the House; by nominations sent to the court, the basically control the Supreme Court. We are in a minority position. The Republicans control what comes to the floor in both the House and the Senate. In the Senate though — with the 60 vote margin — there’s a need for bipartisanship. That’s all we’ve asked for. Sit down at the table and let us work this out in a bipartisan fashion. That’s what Lindsey Graham and I presented to the president on that infamous meeting on January the 11th; that’s what Schumer did on Friday. A bipartisan approach to solve this problem. We are still ready and willing to move forward ...
In a simple point said long, Durbin attempted to claim the victim high-ground for the Democratic Party. This isn’t surprising in the least because that’s what these negotiations turn into — a battle over the perception of virtue.
The fact that Stephanopoulos called out Durbin in the first place, however, shows that the Democratic Party isn’t in the comfortable position it was in 2013.