At the last GOP conference meeting of the two-week government shutdown, no lawmakers went to the microphones to give their take.
Instead, after Speaker John Boehner told Republicans they had “fought the good fight,” they all rose up to offer a standing ovation. “It was one of the easiest meetings we’ve ever had,” says Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina.
The message from Boehner and majority leader Eric Cantor was unity, with warnings not to point fingers of blame.
“Everyone in this room ran on the Republican ticket,” Cantor told colleagues.
Walking out of the meeting to the throng of reporters, the conservatives kept to that script, but the moderates drew their knives out for the Right.
Representative Peter King of New York urged more Republican officials to speak up about Senator Ted Cruz and “condemn him for what he did.”
Representative Aaron Schock of Illinois said the lesson of the episode was that Boehner should cut out the far-right flank and work with centrist Democrats.
Most of the top conservatives who pushed the House GOP into an Obamacare fight weren’t very introspective, offering positive words about the fight and hope for victories to come.
One conservative, however, did say he had learned a valuable lesson.
“Don’t bite off more than you can chew,” said Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California.