The GOP Prepares To Commit Political Suicide


Frum feels that the GOP has suffered a “breakdown in the party’s ability to govern itself”:

Even when pressed to do something overwhelmingly likely to end in disaster, as this shutdown looks likely to do for Republicans, the party has no way to stop itself. It stumbles into fights it cannot win, gets mad, and then in its anger lurches into yet another fight that ends in yet another loss.

Republicans who want to fight smarter are called squishes; Republicans who wish to fight less are called RINOs—and both have been hunted pretty near to extinction. Instead of effective opposition, we see those doomed spasms. And out of these spasms, Obamacare looks sturdier than ever—and any hope of negotiating to fix its worst elements seemingly further out of reach than ever.

Suderman also expects a shutdown to do serious damage to the GOP:

Republicans have said over and over that they are determined to fight Obamacare, and reduce the debt, and hold down government spending. But by opting for meaningless talk and poorly chosen, poorly planned showdowns, they have actually committed themselves to losing.

Larison agrees:

Cruz has railed against Republican defeatism, but in practice Cruz has made himself the leader of what one might call the defeat caucus.

(Photo by Thomas Subtil. More of his work here.)

Shutting Down The Tea Party?

Collender wonders whether “a government shutdown could be the point that historians one day point to as the beginning of the end for the tea partiers in Congress”:

[G]iven that Gingrich and congressional Republicans were far more popular in the mid-1990s than the tea party is today, and in light of the fact that the tea party and not House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is most likely to bear the blame if a shutdown occurs, there’s a good reason to think that at least some of the [Tea Party’s] supporters will find themselves cursing the tea party’s name very soon, especially when the shutdown begins to affect them negatively.

This group will still agree with the tea party’s goals, just not with its tactics. But the tea party will alienate its more intense supporters if it moderates those tactics. Either way, at least some of its base will be lost.

John Bellinger wants the Tea Party to “remember that the United States remains a country at war, not only in Afghanistan, but with al-Qaida and its affiliates around the world”:

Republicans should take no solace in the likelihood that much of DHS, DoD, the FBI, and the intelligence community will remain in place as “essential personnel” during a shutdown.  The rank-and-file who work long and stressful hours protecting the country may technically remain on the job, but they and their leaders (including agency heads) already are having to spend much of their time dealing with the distractions of the coming shutdown.  Do Tea Party Republicans want the leaders of our intelligence and security agencies focused on protecting the nation, or managing the shutdown of their agencies?

In short, if there were another attack against the United States or its facilities around the world (such as an Embassy), Tea Party Republicans and the American people would not be able to blame the Executive branch — and call for Benghazi-like investigations — for failing to keep the country safe.  Members of Congress who had forced a government shutdown would themselves be blamed.