There is plenty of angst to go around as conservatives lament the surrenders that led to the most recent meaningless “deal” crafted between Democrats and their willing Republican accomplices.
But as we move forward amid a web of strategic arguments over how to proceed, it is important to close this month’s chapter with some clarity over what happened and what did not, what is true and what is false.
So toward that end, here are the Top 10 lies of the October Struggle:
1. We just dodged a nearly fatal economic bullet.
Please. The talk of default and unpaid bills was a complete load of hooey, a scare tactic part of a larger scheme-- the left’s narrative that any interruption in government largesse is to be viewed with the urgency of an approaching asteroid.
2. The American public was heavily against the conservative wing of the GOP.
Okay, I believe the polls that showed general disdain for even a 17 percent government slowdown. But this does not mean equal numbers of disapproval for what conservatism instructs in this ongoing scuffle.
Majorities still doubt Obamacare’s attributes. They know we are spending far too much. They oppose these constant upward prods to the debt limit.
Our task-- the very definition of leadership-- is to get people to see that bold measures are required if we are ever to see progress toward fiscal sanity.
Democrats are not going to suddenly nod and say, “Oh, we get it. Yes, dismantle Obamacare. cut spending deeply and lower the nation’s tax burden.” (Sadly, many Republicans will not say this either.)
So we will have to rely on that old adage: nothing succeeds like success. We must elect real conservatives to pass genuine conservative reforms so that their successes can enlighten the low-information voter and humble the statists.
3. This chapter has been ruinous for GOP chances for the Senate in 2014.
That election is still more than a year away. If Obamacare itself is not in tatters by then, its reputation will be. The incumbents and challengers who were on the right side of this issue and the debt debacle will be rewarded.
4. This chapter has been ruinous for the Republican presidential field in 2016.
Only for those who fail to deliver what an energized conservative base wants. Clones of McCain and Romney can save their time and money. GOP primary voters will be looking for a candidate that truly inspires. Throw in a possible battle against Hillary Clinton, and the search will be on for vigor and clarity.
5. This was horrible for the grassroots.
Call them Tea Partiers, grassroots activists, liberty-lovers, whatever you please. But the wishful-thinking narrative of the dominant media culture-- that this deal will quiet the loudest voices against Obamacare and spiraling debt-- will be disproven quickly.
One of the great attributes of true conservative warriors is that they are not hounded into submission by adversity, they are prompted to regroup- and reload.
6. Ted Cruz is damaged goods.
You’ll hear this from more squishy Republicans than Democrats. The Dems are split-- some fear him, some just chuckle derisively. But find me a Republican speaking ill of Ted Cruz and I’ll find you someone personally threatened by his ascent.
Some are threatened with their very careers, others simply jostled from their comfortable perches of moderation and pragmatism.
Cruz rocks a boat that desperately needs rocking. Not every Republican needs to match his intensity, but they would do well to stop condemning it.
7. The defund effort was a waste of time.
Cruz, Lee and others who drove the defund train have been asked incessantly-- do you regret that strategy? Didn’t it hurt you and the party?
The hero status of such unwavering souls is going up, not down. If they were needed before this unholy Reid-McConnell alliance was struck, they are surely needed now, to carry the voices of those who know this deal is bad and will not tolerate another like it.
8. America was inflamed about the government slowdown.
Shutting a few government doors did not win majority support on Main Street. But that is a far cry from the shrieks of distaste heard daily in the mainstream media.
No family was safe from TV cameras if any reporter sniffed a moment of uncertainty that the cell phone bill would be paid. And when real stories arose of important services denied to righteously aggrieved citizens, there was no balancing story to offer the view that this short shared sacrifice was for a larger goal that would accrue to the good of all.
But even with a full court media press designed to make us hate every second of the shutdown and its infernal onscreen ticking clocks. most Americans reacted with a yawn as they went about their uninterrupted business.
9. It is too late for primary challenges to some of the offenders who enabled this useless deal.
Deadlines are deadlines, and they are approaching fast in many states. But do not underestimate the enthusiasm and money that will be shown a worthy candidate stepping in to take out an obstructionist RINO, even on short notice.
This is not a guarantee of success in those challenges-- sometimes you get Ted Cruz, sometimes you get Christine O’Donnell (I say that with love).
But a win is not the only measure of success. A Tea Party primary opponent can be just the elixir for a lazy incumbent unwilling to meet the new higher bar for conservative passion.
I can almost literally feel the wheels turning inside the heads of those wondering whether to challenge Senator X or Congressman Y from the right.
I would say do it. Worst case, an entrenched establishment incumbent hears the language of genuine conservatism and maybe learns to speak it.
10. Next year’s budget and debt ceiling battles are just going to end the same way.
Not necessarily. We may or may not have another government shutdown. But the ranks of courageous Republicans will have been swelled by shows of support in word and in contributory deed.
We will have dispensed with this month’s silliness that real conservatism has been benched. Its blood will flow strongly, and so will campaign dollars, toward those men and women willing to actually fight an agenda that threatens our nation in multiple ways.
Republicans slow to appreciate those passions will get a burst of clarity that could make 2014 a year of more bold colors and fewer dull pastels.