The U.S. Senate once again failed to advance a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday, as Democrats blocked the legislation that would repeal steps taken by President Obama to change the nation’s immigration policy.
Funding for the sprawling department expires on Feb. 27 and lawmakers so far haven’t reached a deal to keep the department open, with Republicans looking to use a new spending bill to punish the president for taking executive action last fall to revamp immigration rules, while Democrats stand firmly against the GOP move.

Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have issued remarks after each vote chiding Senate Democrats for obstructionism through the filibuster. (Indeed, why not allow the bill to pass on a party-line vote and have the president veto it?) They have lambasted Democrats for enabling the president’s overreach, which was criticized by some Democrats.

But is this any surprise? Of course not. Senate Republicans have given opponents of the president’s executive order every chance to make the case and gain allies, but what do they do now? Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) could insist, I guess, that the Senate keep voting and leave our borders undefended when the temporary funding measure expires. He thought a government shutdown in 2013 was a big success and still defends it. Alternatively, he could look at reality and allow a “clean” DHS funding bill to go through without a filibuster. But then he’d be just like those Republicans he so bitterly criticized in 2013. A sellout. A wimp. A RINO.

It is instructive to look at what Heritage Action for America, a major right-wing group that cheered the shutdown and hands out brownie points for obstruction, says. Its chief executive, Michael Needham, writes: “The importance of creating an opportunity for a high-profile, high-stakes battle over the president’s unilateral changes to our nation’s immigration law cannot be overstated. The last such battle resulted in impressive electoral success for Republicans.” Really — was the 2013 shutdown what determined the election? It is simply delusional to think that delivered the Senate. The Republicans’ fortunes rose when the shutdown ended and they could turn to the merits of Obamacare. In fact, those who backed the shutdown lost in the primaries. Those vowing to govern responsibly won.

So what next? Hmm. Needham declares: “If there is a sustained, organized, hard-hitting, unified Republican effort, Democrats will be forced to choose between a lame-duck president’s dangerous, unlawful policies and their constituents. And that is how Republicans can win.” Umm, they did choose. They chose the president. So what now? Republican leaders certainly made the votes closer by taking them once the GOP’s new members joined, but even with those additional Republicans the cloture votes have not been close.

We have arrived at the cul de sac that always confronts the right wing. It cannot win without total control (a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and the White House), and it cannot back down, for its Beltway racket makes money and sustains anger by being purer than pure. The grown-ups save them from disaster when the GOP is in the minority because there are Democrats and enough sensible Republicans to keep the government operating. But now that the GOP is in the majority, it does not work. So what say you, Sen. Cruz and Mr. Needham? What’s the great plan, and if it is to defer to reality and vote on a clean bill you owe the party “establishment” one heck of an apology for 2013. That is precisely what it did then — recognize reality.