Jonah Goldberg

The question now is, What are Republicans going to do about it? Are they going to play the role of Pompey, the dissolute leader who didn't want to fight? Or will they don Caesarian robes and join the battle head-on because they know they have nowhere to retreat? That is the political choice for the GOP: win or die.

There's an entirely plausible case to be made that the GOP bravely blundered in passing the Ryan budget. I don't agree with that argument. But again, so what?

A surefire way for that claim to be proven true is for Republicans to start hemming and hawing and apologizing for what they've done. Look, the House of Representatives passed it with a near-unanimous vote among Republicans. Forty Senate Republicans voted for it as well. Republicans can't run from that, so they shouldn't try.

The one advantage the outnumbered Caesar had was that he and his battle-tested forces understood that there was only one solution to their plight: victory.

The battle-tested Republicans have the same suite of options. And they are battle-tested. Last November they won sweeping victories in the midterm elections. How? By focusing first and foremost on the Democrats' failures.

For instance, the Democrats have a plan too. It's the Status Quo-Plus. It involves letting Medicare continue to spiral out of control, consuming our budget until it becomes necessary for an unelected chamber of health-care bureaucrats to impose draconian cuts. Actually, Democrats have two plans. That was the Obama plan. There's also the Harry Reid plan, which involves lawlessly refusing to pass a budget for coming up on 800 days.

The GOP does need to be more optimistic and pro-growth. It can't just sell reality-based pain when the opposition is selling the cheap lies of deceit.

But more than anything, Republicans need to realize that the die has been cast. All that is left for them is to decide whether they will play the role of Pompey or of Caesar.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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