The GOP Must Know It Lost

Isaac Chotiner explains:

If Republicans get a win on the medical device tax but are generally considered to have been routed by the president, future hostage-taking becomes less likely. If the GOP is despondent and depressed, and the media coverage plays up their falling poll numbers, this disaster is unlikely to repeat itself. But if concessions are seen as a GOP win, then expect more hostage scenarios. Remember, Clinton went along with spending cuts as a way of ending the government shutdown in 1995. But the perception was that he had won a major victory over Republicans, and, consequently, we did not witness five more years of shutdowns. Of course a debt ceiling crisis is much more serious than a shutdown (we can be proud to currently face both). But the principle still holds. The medical device tax and cuts to entitlement programs are important on the merits. But in this case, and going forward, perception trumps reality.

Given the absurd expectations created by fanatics like Cruz and Lee, I cannot imagine how the Tea Party will envisage any deal that doesn’t replace the entire Democratic agenda with their own as capitulation. Drudge, I note, has dropped the negotiations as a leading topic in favor of a story of a food stamp stampede after a technical glitch in a couple of towns in Louisiana. Maybe the propaganda machine is adjusting expectations a little … Costa notes:

GOP enthusiasm for the showdown, from both conservatives and grandees, is waning. Members are spending considerable time calling one another to lament, and they’re worried about fading public support. “We can’t get lower in the polls. We’re down to blood relatives and paid staffers now,” said Senator John McCain on CBS’s Face the Nation. “But we’ve got to turn this around, and the Democrats had better help.”