In his daily video on American politics, Dick Morris blamed conservatives for shutting down the government and for the public backlash against the Republican Party. He asserts that the conservatives should never have taken an approach that shut down the government over defunding ObamaCare, an objective that John McCain characterized as a "fool's errand."While there is truth in the suggestion that there was never really any way that ObamaCare could be defunded, conservatives never would have taken such an approach had the likes of John McCain and John Boehner made any effort whatsoever to reach out to conservatives and to make them part of the legislative process. Instead, establishment Republicans have done nothing but deride and mock and belittle conservatives in both houses of Congress, as well as their supporters, and left them with no other strategy than a desperate move in desperate times.
Had Speaker Boehner made any sincere attempt over the past few years to unify his party and to respect the views of the conservatives in the House by taking their ideas into consideration, the conservatives who took a stand against Obamacare and shut down the government would have been much more willing to compromise. Knowing full well that their opinions are not taken seriously by the establishment wing of the Republican Party, conservatives took matters into their own hands and put up a fight. They were not willing to follow a man who had deceived them so many times before. They were not willing to trust a man who had demeaned them and ostracized them from the party. They were not willing to stand by and watch as the establishment Republicans paved the way for yet another Democratic victory.
On paper, the government shutdown looks like a big loss for the Republican Party. In the short term, this may be true. The leftist media will never portray events as they truly happened, and they will be giddy over what appears to be a political victory for President Obama and his party. In the end, whatever happens cannot be blamed on conservatives. It is the failed leadership of Speaker John Boehner that nearly brought the house down. His inability to build consensus among House Republicans, his ineptitude in managing the delicate political differences in his own party, and his incessant dismissal of conservative Republicans left him without a following.
Conservatives were never naive enough to believe that they could defund ObamaCare in this process. They were merely trying to force the president and congressional Democrats to make symbolic if not meaningful concessions. A unified Republican Party would have been able to accomplish this goal. Instead, the Republicans walk off the field with nothing. When a coach fails to inspire his players and does not earn their respect, they will break with his game plan and try to win the impossible game at any cost. No leader should ever put those under his charge in such a position. The bitter irony is that moderate Republicans who talk incessantly about the need to negotiate and meet Democrats at the halfway point failed to negotiate within their own ranks.
The establishment wing of the Republican Party will be truly embarrassed in the coming days. They will hit the airwaves and express remorse over what has transpired. They'll talk about how elections have consequences and how the American people have spoken. They will move even farther to the left, rather than to learn from this experience and to try and compromise with conservatives. The broader and more significant question is: will these wishy-washy Republicans retain their power in 2014 or will they be forced into negotiating with an expanded group of conservatives in the House?