“There is no possibility of a government shutdown. Remember me? I’m the guy that gets us out of government shutdowns,”
— Soon-to-be-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to Time magazine
The lefties over at Think Progress were elated.
It was September 30, 2013, and they thought they had the GOP right where they wanted it as Texas Senator Ted Cruz plowed ahead with the idea of defunding Obamacare — an action that caused Democrats to promptly shut down the government — and blame not just Cruz but the Republican Party. The whole event was giving prominent Republicans in and out of office the political willies.
Think Progress loved it. So much did they love it that they spent some time making a list of Republican senators, congressmen, governors, ex-office holders, potential presidential candidates, lobbyists and pundits who were spreading the word. That word? If Senator Cruz went ahead with his plan, it was some version of curtains for the GOP. The party would be toast.
Cruz sailed on, confident he would be seen not only as right — but that what he was doing was a boost to the GOP. It was, in fact, the exact same strategy that Ronald Reagan employed when he would veto a bill knowing full well he would be overridden by both Democrats and less than courageous Republicans in Congress — yet issuing the veto to draw a line between Democrats and Republicans so Americans would understand the bright line that was supposed to divide the two parties. At The American Spectator dinner last fall at which Cruz, along with Donald Trump, was featured? Cruz was candid. He recounted his criticisms from GOP colleagues in the Senate and noted that he had asked them for their alternative. Cruz paused, then said that the response he got was “the sound of crickets chirping.”
As Republicans sit back having now increased their majority in the House and won control of the Senate in a nationwide landslide, let’s go back a year and see just who was totally convinced Ted Cruz was leading the GOP to disaster. You can find it here but I will note some of the names in this space.
First? The headline that was used. This priceless headline:
49 Republicans Who Say Shutting Down The Government Over Obamacare Is A Big Mistake.
Got that? A BIG mistake. Next followed the list of Republican naysayers. It was bad strategy, some said. It was going to do real damage to the GOP, some said. It was just plain dumb, some said. Here with names and quotes and big hat tip to Think Progress — the following:
There’s more, of course. But — with no offense to any of those quoted — they all got it wrong. Not just wrong, but Big Time Wrong. A week ago the Republican Party — barely a year away from the government shut down these folks were bewailing in various terms as bad strategy that “will lose more” for Republicans than Democrats — won a blowout election.
Again, the Republicans increased the House GOP majority, as of this writing, to 244 seats, the biggest advantage since the Truman administration. (Note to those who came in late: Harry Truman left office in January of 1953 — 61 years ago.) The GOP recaptured the Senate, with a majority ranging from 52 to 54 seats depending on undecided results. They gained governors in the bluest of blue states of Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois. And on went the red tide, washing over state legislatures as well.
What Ted Cruz accomplished last fall was drawing a very bright Reaganesque line that differentiated Republicans from Democrats. Political disaster was uniformly predicted. Instead? The exact opposite happened.
Will Republicans learn anything here?
“There is no possibility of a government shutdown. Remember me? I’m the guy that gets us out of government shutdowns,” says Senator McConnell.
Do you think Mitch McConnell makes the connection between the government shutdown of 2013 and the fact that he is about to become Senate Majority Leader?
What do you think?
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