You would think — and hope — that the wingers would have learned something from the 16-day shutdown that cost the country $24 billion and tarnished the already dim reputation of the U.S. economy in the world.
Yes, they did. But it’s the wrong lesson.
For a certain block of House conservatives, the ones who drove Speaker John Boehner toward a government shutdown and near-default against his will, the lesson of the last few weeks isn’t that they overreached. Not that they made unachievable demands, put their leadership in an impossible position, damaged their party’s position with the public and left a deep uncertainty about whether the GOP conference can recover and legislate.
No, what they’re taking away from the 2013 crisis is: They didn’t go far enough.
They aren’t angry with Speaker John Boehner for ultimately capitulating to Democratic demands. They’re frustrated with their more mainstream colleagues who put him in that position.
“I’m more upset with my Republican conference, to be honest with you. It’s been Republicans here who apparently always want to fight, but they want to fight the next fight, that have given Speaker Boehner the inability to be successful in this fight,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) told reporters Wednesday. “So if anybody should be kicked out, it’s probably those Republicans… who are unwilling to keep the promises they made to the American people. Those are the people who should be looking behind their back.”
In other words, the shutdown didn’t fail; the Republicans failed the shutdown.