Right-wingers who cheered the government shutdown are loath to admit it didn’t work out as planned. They therefore have come up with a series of pronouncements, which unfortunately lack any evidentiary support.
“Well, they’ve already taken a hit, so now the Republicans can hang tight.” This is actually contrary to polling showing public attitudes toward the GOP handling of the shutdown worsening. And there is nothing to say that as time drags on, the public won’t really hate what the Republicans are up to. There is a reason why politicians cut their losses; small problems can become catastrophic if allowed to fester.
“They didn’t want the shutdown, but now they have to fight.” Says who? There was a reason that GOP leadership didn’t want to fight on the continuing resolution; it is the box canyon of budget politics, and it is a race they can’t win. The alternative is obvious: Move on, get to the debt-ceiling debate.
“The shutdown is bad for Republicans, but it is also bad for the president.” Actually, it is worse for Republicans, as every poll bears out. Moreover, the president is not on the ballot in 2014 or 201; many Republicans will be.
“The public dislikes Obamacare.” So? They also don’t want to shutdown the government over it. In fact, a principal reason why smart Republicans wanted to avoid the CR fight is that it would distract from the Obamacare rollout fiasco. They were right about that.
“There is no longer-term damage to the GOP in pursuing this strategy.” That is far from clear. I think it’s not coincidental that GOP governors have been running ads to distinguish themselves from inside-the-Beltway pols. GOP Senate candidates and their advisers certainly would rather run on the clean issue of Obamacare, not be thrown on defense to justify the shutdown.
“It’s not hurting Ken Cuccinelli.” The very same people who assured us the tea party favorite running for governor of Virginia was not too extreme and was a terrific candidate insist he’s run a rotten campaign and the shutdown has nothing to do with his lousy poll numbers. Actually, neither Cuccinelli or Terry McAuliffe buy the “shutdown doesn’t matter” line. This is why Cuccinelli has repeatedly tried to assure everyone he doesn’t favor it and wouldn’t be photographed with shutdown ring-leader Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) And it is why McAuliffe is doing everything he can to tie his opponent to the Beltway antics.
One would expect defensive rationalization from pols who had screwed up. But there is no reason for knowledgeable right-leaning journalists and third-party groups to peddle this nonsense. They only make the problem worse and the inevitable course reversal that much harder.