Thursday, October 17, 2013

Score One for President Obama

The political crisis is over, for now. The reviews are coming in and they are not very good. They are especially bad for Congressional Republicans. In the end they came away looking like losers, and that is never good.

Republicans lost so badly that many of their most reliable supporters could not defend them.

Rush Limbaugh, for one, said:

The Republicans have done everything they can to try to make everyone like them and what they've ended up doing is creating one of the greatest political disasters I've ever seen in my lifetime...I was pondering if I could ever remember...a time when a political party just made a decision not to exist, for all intents and purposes.

At the New York Times, Ross Douthat wrote:

However you slice and dice the history, the strategery, and the underlying issues, the decision to live with a government shutdown for an extended period of time — inflicting modest-but-real harm on the economy, needlessly disrupting the lives and paychecks of many thousands of hardworking people, and further tarnishing the Republican Party’s already not-exactly-shiny image — in pursuit of obviously, obviously unattainable goals was not a normal political blunder by a normally-functioning political party. It was an irresponsible, dysfunctional and deeply pointless act, carried out by a party that on the evidence of the last few weeks shouldn’t be trusted with the management of a banana stand, let alone the House of Representatives.

On the Wall Street Journal editorial page Dan Henninger declared:

One of the more compelling finds in the opinion-polling swamps is that most people would like to see the entire Congress replaced. A more modest proposal: Let's replace all the Republicans in Congress with their children or grandchildren. Bring in the 15-year-olds. How could it get worse?

From the House to the Senate, the Republicans look dazed and confused. Three weeks ago, Ted Cruz stood in the Senate chamber for nearly a day, looking like a hero. Today, with the GOP brand in a vertical dive, he looks like a Bozo balloon.

Across the pond Tim Stanley summed it up in the London Telegraph:

… the Republicans have definitely lost. Not only did they not get what they wanted – that "life or death" delay on Obamacare implementation – but they've given the impression of dragging partisanship to new lows. Obamacare had been passed already, the Supreme Court had okayed it and Obama had won an election on it, yet the GOP was still prepared to bring the country to the brink of ruin to cripple it. When Grover Norquist is saying that the Right went too far (he of the "drown government in the bath tub" fame) then the Right probably went a bit too far.

In one of the best analyses of the situation, Stanley distributed the blame:

First, the Republicans aren't the only ones who ought to hang their heads in shame. It was the Democrat-controlled Senate that first rejected the House's bill and so sparked the crisis. It was the President who refused to talk to anyone about it (and went campaigning instead). It was the federal government – even when in shutdown – that behaved like a spoiled child, covering war memorials in fences and trying to stop military priests from saying Mass.

He continued to explain that for President Obama, the victory was probably Pyrrhic:

… what has Obama really won? He keeps his precious healthcare reform and he gets government open again – but tomorrow morning he'll still have the same gridlocked political system that he had the night before. The shutdown is a rare example of him winning, but remember that this lame duck president has not only had a very simple (and, frankly, inoffensive) gun control bill killed in the Senate but was so spooked by bad poll numbers that he tried to dump responsibility for military action in Syria onto the Congress – before quietly dropping the idea altogether. Any thought that the shutdown payoff will be that he can sail an immigration reform package comfortably through Congress is pure fantasy. This is a broken presidency living out its last few years either holding off Republican attacks or lazily cruising the country on some pointless, endless, fatuous campaign trail. Obama's administration is politically bankrupt.

The Republicans lost, but Obama still does not know how to govern. Time will tell how much his victory will cost his presidency, but it’s certainly not a time to gloat.


Anonymous said...

The Republicans like John Boehner are the losers - showing that capitulation gains you nothing. The Tea Party Republicans that say - "this needs to stop" - and will stand by that are the winners. They will be voted in - and they will not bow to the brow beating and harassment because they are doing what their constituency wants.

All this pointless exercise did was to show there is no difference between the present GOP and the Democrats. I doubt that will be the case in the coming years.

Anonymous said...

I think the Republicans can count on one feature of our modern twittered society - short memories. People will quickly forget this episode and we will be on to other events, including the continuing disaster of Obamacare. On the margin the Republicans will perhaps even benefit for having "gone to the mat" to defeat this destructive law. Many people are still just starting to wake up to the reality of far higher premiums, less choice, surging part-time employment, and poorer quality medical care. Obama and the Democrats unambiguously own all of these features of the law they forced on the American people.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I agree... if I recall, Nate Silver pointed out last week that this story was not going to last for very long. Now that it is out of the way, as you say, the reality of Obamacare will become clearer to everyone... let's hope.

Dennis said...

I would suggest that what looks like a win is not. The horrors of Obamacare will now dominate the news and that is the last thing Obama needs. As ANON 8:16 states one of the big winners here is the TEA party. They grew out of the current Republican party's inability to hold down spending and it would seem have a set of core beliefs. Judged by the actions of the Democrat party it will not be long before they move to a dictatorship.
One had to know this was coming;

I would posit that this is what is meant by winning while losing. Even a sycophantic media is beginning to point out the colossal failure that is in the making.
Question, did anyone really believe that the current Republican party was principled enough to hold the line on spending? One of the reasons the current GOP polls so poorly is not because of Independents or Democrats. It is because of Republicans and TEA party disenchantment with what that party has become. What benefit is derived from a party that will only make me less of a slave to the whims of an overarching government than the other party? I am still a slave.
One does not spend much time in a church whose dogma is so pliable that it becomes the "Church of Whats Happening Now." Until people like John McCain, Linsey Graham, Karl Rove, et al are removed from controlling the Republican party they will continue to lose and a third party is not going to work out. Someone is going to have to explain to me what Karl Rove has done that has produce any real gains for Republicans. As an Independent I would like for once in my life to vote for a principled candidate and not for the lesser of two evils. Right now no matter who wins we still get evil.
If I was not a person who can see this from a global perspective I would not be as optimistic as I am. I see a lot of WIN for those outside the "beltway" if they are smart enough to see the advantage they now possess.

The Dark Lord said...

so 3 liberal pundits say the GOP lost and you run with that ?

(yes the WSJ editorial board is liberal)

we aren't even in the 5th inning of this game ...

stop calling it lost :)