The media, talking heads, and a lot of politicians continually say that a “small minority” of the Republican Party was responsible for the costly government shut down and our close call with default. A radical minority might have conceived the attempted coup, but 58% of all Republicans in Congress joined the cause.
Nancy Pelosi put it in perspective for those in the media who lost perspective on the facts. “Everyone described it as, ‘Oh, it’s just a few, it’s 30-some. But 62 percent of their caucus voted to default on the full faith and credit of the United States.”
There are 44 Republicans in the Senate and 233 in the House for a total of 277 members of the Party of Andrew Johnson. Of those 277, 18 in the Senate and 144 in the House voted to keep the government closed and to default on the debt—58% of them.
What is even more troubling is that the chief negotiator for the Republicans in the conference committee, Representative Paul Ryan, voted to default on our debt Wednesday night. This concerns Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer. “I was very disappointed that Paul Ryan voted against keeping the government open and paying our bills. It was a tough vote, but this time he took a hard-line path,” Hoyer said.
Default was avoided and the government was reopened by Democrats with help of only 42% of Republicans. The Republicans who caused this vow to continue the battle in January when the law passed Wednesday expires. So if you like this kind of government, by all means keep on electing Republicans because you have a 6 in 10 chance they will deliver more shutdowns and manufactured crises for you.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky negotiated the deal to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling for 90 days. His motives may have been altruistic and patriotic, but the Congress rewarded him with a huge public works project on the Ohio River in Kentucky—a project McConnell has supported for years. McConnell says he did not sneak that into the bill, Senator Alexander did. Regardless, it gives him pork to help in his tough campaign next year.
McConnell said that Republicans learned a lesson about shutting down the government over Obamacare. He said that would not happen again. Before anyone gets too excited, he did not rule out a shutdown over the budget or something else. He did not even rule out a future default.
“We didn't raise taxes and we didn't bust the caps, but we’ll be back at in January and February, which is why I call it a punt, with better field position to fight again another day,” McConnell said.
Ted Cruz did a victory lap after most people would say he had just lost the battle. He said “millions of Americans rose up against Obamacare.” Cruz was unaffected by the fact 70% of Americans disagreed with his strategy to shut down the government over Obamacare. He also ignored the fact that Obamacare actually went up 7% in favorability as a result of his efforts despite glitches in the roll out. If millions rose up, they are using stealth technology.
There may be eternal optimists out there, but the smart money should be on the fact that Republicans did not surrender, they just engaged in a tactical retreat. Like the Terminator and herpes, they’ll be back.