There's losing, and then there's having your face mashed into the dirt so hard and so long that survival is only possible if you're a cartoon character. The details are still somewhat unclear, but it looks like that's what Obama has just done to the Republican party.
The Great Government Shutdown started based on a Republican demand for a delay in the Obamacare "individual mandate." For the past three weeks, Obama refused to negotiate or offer anything, simply sitting around with his arms folded waiting for the Republicans to simply fund his government at his preferred spending levels with no strings attached. Last weekend, the cowed Republicans finally offered this - and Obama rejected it.
It appears that the final "deal" is nothing less than total and complete surrender on all fronts. Obama got the government reopened in full, the furloughed Federal employees get full back pay for work they did not do, and the debt ceiling is raised. The Republicans got absolutely nothing - nothing, that is, except yet another "supercommittee" to craft yet another budget.
Obamacare rolls on unimpeded.
Our national debt continues to climb unabated, as the Chinese pointed out when they downgraded our credit yet again.
Our government continutes to churn out more and more job-destroying regulations and oppressive rules, enforced by even more government employees paid with borrowed money.
And all for no reason! The Stupid Party, as always, caved at the very threshold of a conservative victory.
What is it that conservatives have wanted for lo these many years? A government that lives within its means - in other words, a balanced budget. This necessarily requries a much smaller government which is the real goal, but shrinking government spending to actual taxes received is an excellent start.
What is the debt ceiling? It's the equivalent of your credit card limit - the amount beyond which the bank won't loan you any more money. Colliding with the debt ceiling would not have triggered a default, any more than hitting your credit card limit means you're in default.
No, it just means you can't borrow any more. As long as you're still making payments, you're in good standing with the bank - and as long as America made interest payments on our national debt, there would be no default. And yes, at least for now, America does still bring in more in taxes than it owes in interest - about five times more, in fact.
"Hitting the debt ceiling" was not a bad thing, not if you're truly a conservative. It's a good thing, a way of enforcing some fiscal discipline on our bloated government that apparently we cannot get any other way! Why on earth would Republicans ever vote to raise the debt ceiling, for any reason?
Yet Obama acted as if he held all the cards, and Republicans believed him - which proves, once and for all, that a majority of Republican elected officials are every bit as devoted to an ever-growing government as the most devout liberal socialist.
The Republican brand is tarnished as never before, with the lowest favorability ratings on record. This is generally blamed on Republicans having been universally blamed for the shutdown - a lie if ever there was one; how many times did Obama come out and publicly refuse to negotiate?
But there's another reason for the contempt shown the Republican brand: for all these years, Republicans have generally argued for smaller government and lower taxes, yet utterly failed to deliver. Why should anyone respect a group so manifestly incompetent at achieving their own goals?
The reason, of course, is that their goals are phony; all too many establishment Republicans like John McCain are happy to spend to infinity so long as it goes on their own pet programs. The bottom line is that, indeed, there is truly no difference between the parties.
Which means, as has happened before in American history, it's time to lay the GOP to rest once and for all. The Tea Party had a good crack at taking over the Republican Party, but the odious shutdown "deal" proves that attempt has failed.
So, the Tea Party and traditional conservatives are left with a choice: do they want to continue to support a party establishment that they know, beyond all doubt, holds them in contempt and will betray them at the worst possible opportunity, while through their malfeasance muddies the name of conservatism in the eyes of the American people?
Or, would it be better to bite the bullet, cast aside the Republican Party entirely, and try to create a new party out of the ashes? This is how the Republican Party itself came to be, after all, created from the remnants of the Whig party in the runup to the Civil War.
Many of our Gentle Readers will respond, "But - if conservatives abandon the Republican Party, Democrats will sweep the board and have absolute power for at least several election cycles, if not a generation! We have to support Republicans as the Lesser Evil simply to slow down our drive to the abyss!"
Yes, well. How well has that been working? It's crystal clear that Republicans are no longer capable of slowing down socialism, and a clear majority of elected Republican officials don't even want to.
That being so, the future has been decided. Obamacare will come into full effect, it will collapse financially as is already beginning to happen, it will be replaced by a European socialist single-payer health care system as all the Democrat leaders have plainly stated to be their intention, which will both bankrupt and murder the middle class as is plainly evident elsewhere. None of this can be altered; the shutdown and debt ceiling struggle was the last chance to change the future and it failed through sheer lack of guts.
So - wouldn't it be better to at least have a minority party that can credibly say what's going to happen, say why it's going to happen, and point out the truth when it does happen? Winston Churchill played this role in the dark days of appeasement in the 1930s, and when the crisis came, he had the credibility to claim power and save his country.
Yes, it means things are going to get a lot worse in America - but that is now inevitable. Our country is lost for the time being, that can't be changed.
The question is - can we preserve any possibility of our children seeing the truth and turning things around at an opportune moment? Or will we all go down together in one muddy mess, which no doubt will be blamed on the Republicans anyway?
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.