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Boehner confuses extortion with democracy

House Speaker John Boehner insists all that's needed to reopen the U.S. government and raise the debt ceiling (to prevent default and disaster) is for the majority party to sit down and negotiate with him. Let's be clear: negotiation is a necessary democratic activity to produce agreement; extortion is a dangerous activity designed to get something by threat. Mr. Boehner believes it's OK to use extortion — the threat to do great harm to the American people and the economy — to force others to succumb to his demands, while insisting the majority limit itself to good faith negotiation.

Extortion isn't a reasonable, democratic or constitutional way to govern, and surrendering to it (thereby establishing a precedent) would cause serious harm to the nation.

Roger C. Kostmayer, Baltimore

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