(CNN) -- A suicide bomber walks into a bar. He shouts at the bartender, "Gimme the money, or I blow this place to bits!" The worried bartender hands him a wad of cash, and the bomber departs. The next day, the suicide bomber returns to the same bar. He shouts at the bartender, "Gimme the money, or I blow this place to bits!" "Are you nuts?" answers the bartender. "If I give you money every day, I'll go out of business. Plus, you're scaring away the customers." "I tell you what," replies the bomber, "Gimme the money, and I won't come back until the day after tomorrow."
Michael Wolraich: Welcome to the art of negotiation, Republican style. Since the election of 2010, the United States has narrowly averted three Republican-built suicide bombs: one government shutdown, one debt default and one fiscal cliff. We have two more scheduled for February: across-the-board spending cuts and another debt ceiling expiration. The Republicans' suicide strategy is a relatively new addition to American politics. Newt Gingrich pioneered the first government shutdown in 1995. It was so disastrous that no one tried it again for 16 years. In the meantime, Republicans pursued a more traditional method known as the democratic process. They campaigned for election and took control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives. From 2001 to 2006, the dominant Republicans passed plenty of conservative legislation. (They did not, however, reduce spending or balance the budget.)