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When the government shut down for 21 days in 1995 because President Bill Clinton wouldn’t acquiesce to the GOP’s version of a balanced budget, the public didn’t take too kindly to it. It led to Clinton winning re-election by a landslide in 1996, and it literally ended House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s so-called Republican revolution.

Even Sen. John McCain, Obama’s opponent in the 2008 election and one of his most ardent critics, remembers what a fiasco that shutdown turned out to be for the GOP back then – and has urged the Tea Party hardliners against repeating that disastrous history.

But they aren’t listening to him. All they’re listening to is their own intransience and intolerance.

That not only speaks to how tough Jarrett’s job must be, or how tough Obama’s job continues to be, but the troubled future that we face with this Congress.

Think about it.

If Tea Party-backed Republicans are so obsessed with gutting Obamacare that they’re willing to risk their own party going down in flames, what does that say about how they feel about the fate of the entire country?

What does it say when a faction of the GOP cares more about emasculating Obama – a president who represents the dreams and needs of a nation that is becoming blacker and browner and more progressive – than about helping the country move forward?

It says to me that they’re fanatics, not patriots – because the America they want is one in which Obama is as powerless and as voiceless as the people whose access to the polls many of them are now trying to restrict.

But as the saying goes, if a person digs a grave for his enemy, he should dig one for himself, too. And if history is any indication, then House Republicans ought to start stocking up on shovels.

Not to throw dirt over the president, but over themselves.

Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her @tonyaajw. Or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tonyaajweathersbee.

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