Epic Defeat

So, Congress has voted to raise the debt ceiling and reopen government, which is the good news for anyone who cares about decent and responsible policymaking. The bad news is that in a few months, we may end up repeating the entire fight. I can’t wait to see what that does to our credit rating. I also can’t wait to see the people who thought that the current shutdown and flirtation with debt ceiling disaster was A Compendium of All the Wonderful Things tell us a couple months down the line that we have to tilt at windmills again because . . . well . . . something.

Of course, it would be nice if congressional Republicans avoided making the same mistake again. Perhaps they could listen to one of their own:

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), one of the more conservative voices in the House GOP caucus, told CNN on Wednesday afternoon: “We lost. That’s it. You’re absolutely right. The folks who said we were going to lose turned out to be correct. I can’t argue that.”

I pray that Rep. Mulvaney isn’t going to get primaried for these comments at some point before the night is over.

The only thing that Republicans got in the deal legislative deal that brought this entire horror show to an end is a commitment to verify the incomes of those seeking subsidies in order to enroll in Obamacare. Of course, income verification was already part of the bill authorizing the Affordable Care Act, so this means that Republicans got absolutely nothing whatsoever of any substance or value from the shutdown. This is what happens when an incredibly weak hand gets ridiculously overplayed.

It is time for some serious self-examination on the right, and to that end, I am glad to give the microphone to Peter Wehner. Read the whole thing that he wrote. Also, read John Podhoretz:

Apologists for [Senator Ted] Cruz and [Senator Mike] Lee say they drew attention to ObamaCare. This is nothing short of demented. ObamaCare has been pretty much the sole subject of Republican domestic- policy politics over the past three years. It didn’t need them to call attention to it.

If anything, as it turns out, they drew attention away from it.

Had they not created the shutdown, the political discussion in the United States these past two weeks would have been entirely dedicated to the disastrous launch of ObamaCare — something so disastrous, in fact, that liberal journalists have been unable to avoid the subject and have instead taken to whining about it.

But no. Instead, we spent the two weeks before the launch watching Ted Cruz rally the Republican faithful with a fantasy scenario in which the public would stage an uprising against ObamaCare and force a bunch of Democratic senators to vote to defund it.

Well, that didn’t happen.

But once the conservative base became convinced the defunding of ObamaCare was a possibility, the Republican House found it impossible not to join in the really futile and stupid gesture. Shutdown ensued.

Well, that’s over with. And maybe the damage will not be very great. But doing really futile and stupid things is never a good idea, and for a political party, it is disastrous.

Such behavior convinces people who are not firmly fixed in your party’s corner that you don’t care about the good working ­order of the United States, that you’re only out to satisfy your own ideological fantasies, and that you’re actually unserious.

Listen: Not enough people are voting for Republicans. That’s why the GOP has lost the popular vote in five out of the last six national elections. What happened over the past two weeks will only harm the effort to convince those who can be convinced to vote Republican that doing so is wise and prudent.

You would think that all of this was obvious to begin with. You would think that an entire column in the New York Post would not have to be devoted to explaining the obvious to very smart politicians.

You would think wrong.

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