This morning, Ed Kilgore asks, What Lesson Was Learned? It follows off an article by Ross Douthat, A Teachable Moment. But as Kilgore notes, the only lessons that Douthat thinks the Republicans should have learned from the shutdown debacle is that they should use better political tactics.
Kilgore notes, “I’m beginning to get the sense that the more loudly a conservative denounces the tactics of the fiscal fight as idiotic, the more he or she can be counted on to insist on agreeing with the ideology that motivated the idiocy in the first place.” Well, right. I’ve been saying this for a long time. The difference between the extreme and mainstream Republicans is entirely one of tone, not of ideology. If a bunch of people all agree on certain policies, there will of course be varying opinions about how best to get those policies enacted. So as long as all the Republicans continue their quixotic quest to roll back the New Deal, there will be members who think it is so important that we ought to destroy the economy to do it.
Eric Cantor gave a speech that nicely sums this up:
So that is the problem with the Republican Party. It has almost no ideological diversity. That’s why they all argue about tactics. They can’t question what others believe, so they are left only with how much others believe. Do you want to repeal Obamacare enough to shut down the government? How about force a government default? What about assassination?
All of this leads me to the same place I’ve been for a while. The Republican Party must be defeated at the polls again and again. They must be crushed to such an extent that the party is either destroyed (allowing the Democratic Party to break in half) or taken over by traditional conservatives who want to keep things as they are now, not bring them back to the way they were in 1860.
I beg of you: vote next year! The date is 4 November 2014. Mark it down!