After last night’s Republican implosion, it will surely be time soon for introspection among the so-called conservatives about where they have taken their party and this country. In lashing out at the sudden appearance of anti-Cruzniks, Josh Barro nails it:
Roughly one-third of this caucus thinks hitting the debt ceiling and shutting down the government are great strategies to try to stop Obamacare. The other two-thirds of the party has realized all along that this strategy sucks, but they could not find any way to stop their party from implementing it — even though these “reasonable” Republicans outnumber the crazies.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was on CNN today saying that his party’s strategy for the last month has been lunacy. Well why the hell didn’t he do anything to stop it? Why didn’t he join with Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and stop the shutdown in its tracks on Sept. 30? Where is his sense of responsibility?
Because the operating principle in the GOP is: no enemies to the right. This has been the case for years now – as prescient moderate Republicans, from Specter and Smith to Lugar, were purged, and conservative dissidents like yours truly, Bruce Bartlett, David Frum et al. were ostracized. One might think this means the GOP has hit bottom, like an addict hooked on extremism finally recognizing it no longer exists as a viable party of government. But check out one of the key cowards and enablers and panderers out there, Jonah Goldberg of National Review. After nearly bringing the American and global economy to a standstill, and failing to achieve anything of substance, Goldberg’s advise to the GOP is, verbatim, “Move On Everybody, It Just Doesn’t Matter.” I kid you not:
I would bet that the shutdown plays a relatively minor role in the 2014 and 2016 elections. But even if the shutdown plays a big role, that would be all the more reason for Republicans to find the best and most unifying way to talk about it. Endless internecine screaming about what went wrong is exactly what Obama wanted out of this. Why give it to him if it won’t produce anything worthwhile? As an intellectual or historical question, I think it’s a great thing to debate. As a political touchstone, it’s poisonous.
Goldberg is responding – civilly! – to the hardcore Stalinist of the right, Hugh Hewitt, who still regards Ted Cruz as the future of what’s left of his party. He even tries to spin this fiasco as some kind of possible political win. What is out of bounds is a real, honest, brutal debate about what has happened to Republicanism, how to reverse it, and what lessons to learn. And so it will get worse. Until someone somewhere with some actual clout begins the raw debate that is essential if we are to return to two-party government. Until then, voting Democrat is the only option. I’m not one, but I’m also not insane. No one with any sense of collective responsibility can vote this shambolic crew of vandals into any form of office any time soon. Roll on, 2014.
(Photo: Getty Images)