The political fallout from the confrontation is very real. Republicans got almost nothing out of the deal to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling except, of course, that they lost another 10 percentage points in their favorable rating and looked less like an organized political party and more like a disorganized, confused rabble.At The New York Times, Jeremy Peters picks up the theme:
Republican operatives are worried that the showdown will improve Democratic House recruiting considerably for 2014, and it could well damage GOP fundraising, both among small-dollar donors and the party’s bigger hitters.
Small donors will be disenchanted that Republican officeholders caved on both the shutdown and debt ceiling, while the larger donors, who tend to be more pragmatic, are likely to sit on their cash for fear that the GOP will do something else crazy to threaten the economy and the party’s electoral prospects.
GOP insiders point out that while the party clearly has lost some ground in recent years among swing voters because of its position on cultural issues, the party’s great strength — at least up until now — was that it was generally seen by independents as fiscally responsible and prudent on economic matters. Now that argument may be more difficult for Republicans to make.
Ironically, the House Republicans’ suicide mission came at exactly the right time for President Barack Obama and the wrong time for the GOP.
For the Republicans who despise President Obama’s health care law, the last few weeks should have been a singular moment to turn its problem-plagued rollout into an argument against it. Instead, in a futile campaign to strip the law of federal money, the party focused harsh scrutiny on its own divisions, hurt its national standing and undermined its ability to win concessions from Democrats. Then they surrendered almost unconditionally.
“If you look back in time and evaluate the last couple of weeks, it should be titled ‘The Time of Great Lost Opportunity,’ ” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, among the many Republicans who argued that support for the health care law would collapse once the public saw how disastrous it really was.