Even before the shutdown endgame began, much of the right understood what had to be done as the government reopened and the country's full faith and credit was reestablished:
The narrative had to be massaged.
Ted Cruz and the Crazy Caucus couldn't be left with egg on their faces. The notion that the public was disgusted with the shutdown couldn't be left unchallenged. The idea that this was a futile fight could not be allowed to go unrebutted. The crazies had to be portrayed as valiant warriors fighting for what the people really want, only to be betrayed by cowards and villains.
We saw this on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal yesterday, where we were told by William Galston that Ted Cruz and his teabag base are heroes in a storied American tradition:
More than a decade ago, ... Walter Russell Mead published an insightful essay on the persistent "Jacksonian tradition" in American society. Jacksonians, he argued, embrace a distinctive code, whose key tenets include self-reliance, individualism, loyalty and courage.As the day arrived when Congress would vote to end the crisis, we got ore from the Murdoch media -- this, in particular, from Fox's Brit Hume:
... Jacksonians are anti-elitist; they believe that the political and moral instincts of ordinary people are usually wiser than those of the experts and that, as Mr. Mead wrote, "while problems are complicated, solutions are simple."
That is why the Jacksonian hero defies the experts and entrenched elites and "dares to say what the people feel" without caring in the least what the liberal media will say about him. (Think Ted Cruz.)
The tea party is Jacksonian America, aroused, angry and above all fearful, in full revolt against a new elite -- backed by the new American demography -- that threatens its interests and scorns its values....
"... Senator Cruz and his adherents do not view things in conventional terms. They look back over the past half-century, including the supposedly golden era of Ronald Reagan, and see the uninterrupted forward march of the American left. Entitlement spending never stopped growing. The regulatory state continued to expand. The national debt grew and grew and finally in the Obama years, exploded. They see an American population becoming unrecognizable from the free and self-reliant people they thought they knew. And they see the Republican Party as having utterly failed to stop the drift toward an unfree nation supervised by an overweening and bloated bureaucracy. They are not interested in Republican policies that merely slow the growth of this leviathan. They want to stop it and reverse it. And they want to show their supporters they'll try anything to bring that about.So, you see, teabag legislators and voters are both the salt of the earth and visionaries. And if we don't understand the brilliance of their vision, that's our loss.
"And if some of those things turn out to be reckless and doomed, well so be it."
But now they're dealing with defeat, after a fight most observers regarded as unwinnable. Do they think they made any mistakes?
Even in defeat, Cruz was in the limelight on Wednesday. "It is heartbreaking to the American people that Senate Republicans divided as they did," he told his colleagues, demonstrating an unshakable confidence in his capacity to peer into the national mind.More:
Earlier, in a press conference, Cruz announced: "Unfortunately, once again, it appears the Washington establishment is refusing to listen to the American people."
House conservatives conjured a familiar bogeyman Wednesday to explain their imminent surrender in the government shutdown fight: the liberal media....Besides the media, the blame falls on Republicans who wouldn't hold out indefinitely. Erick Erickson:
At a Wednesday briefing, a collection of House conservatives effectively called the attending reporters liars.
"You guys in the media continued reporting that what the conservatives were asking for was the full repeal of Obamacare. That's absolutely false," said Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), a member of the Republican Study Committee and the point person during the Wednesday briefing....
House Republicans started the shutdown showdown with a move to defund Obamacare in its entirety -- an effective repeal. When that failed, they pushed for a one-year delay of the law. The lower chamber has also voted separately more than 40 times to repeal part or all of the law....
You will see no defunding of Obamacare because Republicans are giving up.They have not yet begun to fight. They're certain they can win this eventually. They're not in the least bit chastened because they didn't make any mistakes except perhaps not persuading enough people of the rightness of their Cause.
You will see no delaying of the individual mandate, even though the Obama Administration cannot fix the website. Republicans have given up this.
You will not even see Republicans hold the line on ensuring Obamacare go into effect as designed by forcing the end to all exceptions, exemptions, and delays granted by the President without congressional consent.
No, the GOP intends to fully fund Obamacare and let Barack Obama have all the power to exempt his friends and delay portions for patrons of his campaign.
So I intend to fully fund Heritage Action for America and the Senate Conservatives Fund....
We only need a few good small businessmen and women to stand up and challenge these Republicans who are caving. If they refuse to fight for us, we must fight them. It is the only way we will finally be able to fight against Obamacare.
I am tired of funding Republicans who campaign against Obamacare then refuse to fight. It's time to find a new batch of Republicans to actually practice what the current crop preaches....
You can't make them see reason. All you can do is mock them, shun them, refuse to support their reelection campaigns, vote them out of office, permanently marginalize them.
They're not chastened. And they never will be.
MORE: "Conservatives Learned The Wrong Lessons From The Shutdown Debacle," from Dylan Scott at Talking Points Memo.
EVEN MORE: Erickson again (via Sarah, Proud and Tall):
... conservatives can keep advancing. They should not be disheartened.And one of his commenters:
In reality, the GOP of a decade ago would never have fought like it has fought now. The party that gave us No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and TARP would never have stood for two weeks embarrassing Democrats with short term spending bills.
Ted Cruz and Mike Lee may not have been able to strike a death blow to Obamacare today, but they were able to fight a fight that would have been impossible before them. They have now made it less and less possible for Republicans to collaborate with Democrats to fix or stabilize Obamacare.
So we must advance....
What we need to be doing is buying voting stock in Comcast, Disney and Time/Warner. Until we have a bigger say in the MSM, and that will be done by strong-arming the boardrooms of these companies to have their news divisions actually be NEWS divisions, we could re-elect a senate full of Jesse Helms' and a congress full of Bob Dornans, nothing will change. You cannot do that by screaming online, as most people still get their news traditionally.VENCEREMOS!
Andrew Sullivan and Michael Tomasky are right: it will only get worse.