Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) (Sarah Phipps/AP) Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) (Sarah Phipps / Associated Press)

John Harwood’s Washington Memo “on the endgame for the budget showdown looming in Washington this fall” was an excellent primer on what awaits President Obama and the Republican congressional leadership. But a quote from Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) stood out.

“There are two things they all agree on: you can’t shut down the government, and you can’t default on the debt,” he told Harwood. “At some point, leaders have to lead.” True. But that requires someone to follow, and time and again the GOP’s raucous caucus, especially in the House, has shown contempt for its leaders.

According to Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei of Politico in a piece aptly headline “Eve of destruction,” the prospects of a disastrous fall with a government shutdown or an unprecedented default have Republican strategists and donors freaked out. They write that one of the fears is that if one or both of those things happen it would “[end] all hopes of proving they are not insane when it comes to governance.” Folks, that horse has long left the barn.

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Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.