Earth to conservative Republican congresspeople: We have already lost the Government-Shutdown game. Yes, all conservatives (and not just card-carrying Tea Partiers) would love it if you could leverage the House’s authority over increases in the federal debt-ceiling, and extract something useful from those wascally, irresponsible Democrats in return for your grudging OKs on the debt-ceiling increases. Yes, it would be great if you could at least save our armed forces from having a portion of their benefits-package curbed. But you have already proved that you are not clever enough to out-maneuver the Democrats even when you control both houses of Congress (in 2003 – 2007), so there is no point to any quixotic attempts to win on budget- and funding-issues when you no longer control the Senate. No, the strategy of a standoff/shutdown has already been put to the American public, and the public, exercising its constitutional right to respond to a polling service, has made it perfectly clear that it is more interested in keeping the government operating – continuing to pay out the hundreds of billions of dollars of entitlements and other government payouts – than it is in holding down the speed at which we are racing toward a meltdown in the bond markets and a national bankruptcy.
It is one thing (and a good thing) to be on the right side of an issue, but it is quite another to commit political suicide when you know that your side cannot prevail on that issue. Our bumbling leaders, Sen. McConnell and Rep. Boehner, have already revealed their inability to negotiate successfully with the Democrats on matters of politics and procedure, they have already shown their inability to lead the Republican Party by educating American Republicans on the virtues of a shutdown. Recall that it was the poor performance of the Republican leadership that led to a clean sweep in 2006 by the Democrats, ending with the Democrats in control of the House, the Senate, a majority of all state legislatures, and a majority of all governorships.
There is no point to further resistance. The Republicans may be 100% correct as a matter of fundamental economic policy, but the American public has not yet bought it. So, there is no useful alternative to capitulation, to taking the scraps that Paul Ryan has been able to collect, and then joining in the massive American countdown to the date (perhaps the November elections) when the cumulative weight of the Obama Revolution may result in a collapse of that revolution without further maneuvering by the Republicans. The public is not buying what we are selling, but at least they are finally starting to figure out some of the President’s flaws.