The establishment cites polls purportedly showing that Republicans are losing even more popularity as a result of the government shutdown and says this proves the folly of the Cruz approach. I don't buy this for reasons I've already articulated, but I think that, in any event, public perception would be less negative toward the conservative position if all Republicans would unite behind those who are trying to stop Obama now and call attention to his extremism and intransigence. If the establishment would put half as much energy into fighting Obama as they have into fighting Cruz, we might have a better chance of turning these loaded polls around.
The establishment line is that Cruz et al. have no strategy. To the contrary, they know that grass-roots conservatives (and many other Americans who have no voice) are frustrated and feel disenfranchised. They want to know that their votes matter and that they have representatives in Washington who'll fight for them. The Cruz-ers aren't guaranteeing short-term victory, but by fighting fiercely and drawing attention to Obama's excesses and recklessness, they are increasing their chances to stop him eventually.
Meanwhile, what is the establishment's strategy? It's been urging caution since the very first budget impasse with Obama. Establishment types always tell us to wait until the next election or we'll get shellacked. They seem to continue to get their way, but we get shellacked anyway, and an increasing number of people are coming to believe there is no longer any difference between the parties. And here's another little secret: Even if conservatives do lose the public relations battle over the government shutdown, we're more than a year away from the 2014 elections, and Republicans are likelier to get hurt then by not having fought than they are by contributing to an impasse that led to an ultimately harmless government shutdown.
I respect the position of the establishment faction way more, I think, than its members respect our position. But I can't help but wonder how much progress we could make if instead of heeding their perennial admonitions to go soft on Obama -- for example, with fights over the budget and Romney's taking on Obama on Benghazi -- they would unite with us in going to the mat against Obama now (not one year, two years or three years from now) and let the chips fall.
Besides, if we can't win a PR battle with Obama over Obamacare in the very midst of its nightmarish rollout, what makes our establishment friends think we can win in 2014 after having rolled over for Obama without "firing a shot," blurred the lines of distinction between the parties, and killed each other with not-so-friendly fire?
The stakes are too high not to draw the line today. We can't continue to kick the can down the road forever. God bless Sen. Cruz and his fellow line drawers.
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