As I read the smug headlines about “The Republican Collapse” and “The Republican Surrender”, I keep asking: why can’t you see that yesterday’s big winner was the Tea Party? How can that be? Didn’t they lose by 2-1 in the House and 4.5-1 in the Senate?
Yes, but they emerged from the disaster they themselves created with their “principles” unsullied and their standing in their districts enhanced. Moreover, they didn’t have to take the blame for – or even cope with – the consequences of a government default. They got to have their cake and eat it too. Preferring posturing to governing, they are the heroes of talk radio and the billionaires who bankroll the hard right. And with the sequester cuts intact, they established the new baseline for fiscal debate.
Like all absolutist movements – from Oliver Cromwell to Robespierre to Lenin to Hitler to Mao to Khomeini – Tea Party Republicans are now turning on their own, seeking to purge all traces of moderation from the party. And thanks to the roll call vote in both houses, they have a hit list in their hands. Having been bailed out by their colleagues, they now savage them.
“The surrender caucus is the whiner caucus,” Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) said of his colleagues who made the difficult choices – and who in his view are nothing more than spineless traitors. “It’s pretty hard when [Boehner] has a circle of 20 people that step up every day and say, ‘Can we surrender today, Mr. Speaker?’”