The Surrender Caucus

by Michael Walsh

Told ya:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday that the polling backlash against the Republican Party was one of the reasons Senate Republicans were eager to cut a deal with Democrats.

“Well you can’t let 20 or 30 polls cloud your thinking apparently,” Graham said sarcastically on CNN’s AC360. “Of course they had an impact, of course they had an impact. And to the people on my side that think this turned out to be a good idea, I just think that turned out not to be reality.”

A string of devastating polling released in the last two weeks showed the public’s view of the Republican Party has fallen to historically low levels. The surveys consistently showed the GOP bearing the brunt of the blame for the unpopular government shutdown.

Graham’s problems, of course, can be solved by the simple expedient of primarying him out of his Senate seat next year and replacing him with someone who understands the new normal of American politics, otherwise known as “fundamental transformation.” This really is the best thing that could happen to him and his fellow accommodationists in Congress, since a loss to a Democrat would only reinforce their belief that conservatives are the real problem with that wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party formerly known as the GOP, whereas a public humiliation at the hands of their own voters pour encourager les autres might actually do some good. 

Of course, chances are his replacement would simply turn out to be another Marco Rubio, who will eagerly reach across the aisle at the first possible opportunity, figuring it’s wiser to stab your electorate in the back once you’re safely out of town and make friends with the opposition than it is to stick to your professed principles. And indeed the gloating has already started from the Senate’s own Minister for Attitude Readjustment, Chuck Schumer:

Following yesterday’s deal to reopen the federal government and raise the debt limit, Chuck Schumer had praise for Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and expected to see more of the same from McConnell’s caucus moving forward.

“I’ve talked to Mitch about this — I think the whole Republican Senate is different now,” Schumer said on Morning Joe on Thursday. “I don’t think Ted Cruz will recover so quickly. . . . I think the Tea Party and Ted Cruz have peaked.”

The New York Democrat said the tea-party members have now alienated their Republican colleagues as well as the general public after the shutdown. “I think you’re going to see a more mainstream, conservative Republican party,” he added.

And that’s true — if by a “more mainstream” Republican party Schumer means “more like the Democrats.” After all, we’re all one big happy family in Senate Comity land, and now that the polls have spoken, we’d best start acting like it. And enjoying spectacles like this

So let’s review yesterday’s famous victory: Conservatives won nothing, were soundly defeated by members of their own party — including the speaker — and (in the middle of a debate over the country’s parlous financial condition) managed to take the unfolding fiscal catastrophe and assault on personal freedom known as Obamacare off the the top of the news cycle and make it lead instead with their own ineptitude and fecklessness. 

There is no good way to spin this, except for the Right either to win this GOP civil war, form a new party (which would be out of power forever, especially with the media poised to strangle it in its cradle), or welcome their new transformationalist overlords. Anyway you look at it, it’s going to be ugly. But until conservatives understand what this breed of Democrats knows in its bones — that in the zero-sum game of modern American politics, the only way to win is by winning — ugly is what we’re going to get.