Editorial: Teachable moments — Republicans warned the shutdown would be a disaster. They were right.
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Oct 17, 2013 | 2191 views |  0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The extreme right wing of the Republican Party, which some days looks like almost all of the Republican Party, must feel like roadkill today as it surveys the aftermath of the government shutdown/debt ceiling standoff.

What was all that about, says the ghost of a dead raccoon lying flat in the middle of the road?

Three weeks ago conservatives’ favorite Tea Party congressmen were selling quite the line.

Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican freshman senator from Texas who has burned more bridges in 10 months than the Eisenhower Interstate System built in 25 years, was leading the charge. Why they were going to defund Obamacare in the next budget, or at the very least slow it down until they could kill it outright. And if the president didn’t agree before Oct. 1, then he’d be forced into a shut-down federal government. That’d learn him.

Not so much. The government was already shut down and the nation rattling toward default when we learned Cruz and company didn’t really have a plan for what happened after pulling the pin on a grenade.

The government shutdown is over. A deal was reached late Thursday. Republican negotiators are holding virtually nothing in their hands in the resolution that’s been OK’d by the House, Senate and the president.

All the hardliners have to show is record levels of unpopularity for the Republican brand.

Here comes the hard part for Republicans — the teachable moment.

The shame is that many congressional Republicans tried to warn the hotheads who thrilled at the prospect of shutdown. These experienced lawmakers sent increasingly loud signals to the Tea Party congressmen before the shutdown. Do not proceed. The point is winning, not launching suicide missions, they warned.

President Barack Obama had no incentive to lift a finger so long as Republicans were warring among themselves. If the Tea Partiers won’t listen to the wise men and women from their own party, why would they heed the words of a president they view as dangerous to the nation?

Now is the time when common-sense Republicans reclaim their party from extremists who’ve shown a willingness to burn down the house for little to no gain.
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