Paul Ryan came away with a deal that is reasonable given the circumstances, and certainly one that enhances his national stature even though some “shutter-the-government-again” conservatives will be unhappy with the deal and with Ryan. There is a lot to dislike in the deal –and Ryan made clear on Greta last evening that he does indeed dislike much of the deal– but the alternative is far worse. The deal is best understood as the third act of the effort that will culminate in the repeal of Obamacare and the restoration of America’s place in the world beginning in 2017.
Act One was led by Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio and all the others who supported the shutdown over Obamacre successfully branded the GOP as the arch-opponent of the disaster that is Obamacare, but having done so once it need not do so again. It was a hard process on the party, with everyone claiming the other side was too stupid to understand obvious things about divided government and the electorate. In fact, the shutdown followed by Act 2, the collapse of the roll out of Obamacare, have left the GOP with the political high ground heading into 2014, and with a real possibility of securing a Senate majority which will the House and Senate not only to duel with the president over the budget and legislative agenda with a complete hand, it will also allow then Majority Leader McConnell to block all of the president’s judicial nominees under Harry Reid’s new rules, including any SCOTUS nominee.
If the GOP wins the Senate, is a very big “if,” and though my ActRight.com list to the right has eight possible Senate pick-ups already lined up for your support, the news of a primary challenge to the very able Texas Senator John Cornyn, a very good conservative and GOP Senate Whip, is not the sort of news that improves takeover chances. Rather, the primary challenge from Congressman Steve Stockman will oblige Cornyn, a prodigious fundraiser for others, to divert time and resources to his own Senate re-election campaign though he will, in the end, comfortably win the primary. Time and money will have been lost. It won’t be fatal to the overall effort to win back the Senate, but it won’t be helpful either.
The best thing for conservatives to do right now is stand with John Cornyn and note his long and very sound voting record, his strong stances on defense, taxes, spending and judges and pivot their attention and energies to races like those of Tom Cotton around which the entire conservative movement can unite, not divide.
Arthur Brooks made it through the snows of D.C. to the radio studios yesterday and he will be back in for me today and perhaps Chairman Ryan will join him to discuss the budget deal in detail. There is much to discuss, much to dislike, but much to applaud, and all told it is a step in the right direction and another chapter in the book titled “2014,” this one with a happier sub-conclusion than that which followed the shut-down chapter.
Obamacare, America’s place in the world and rebuilding its military strength, spending reform, and the national debate over Common Core will define the 2014 elections. (On this last issue conservatives especially must get very smart very quickly.) The GOP has staged a huge comeback on the generic ballot and has a strong card of conservative challengers for the Senate (with more coming as the map expands in places like Colorado and Oregon). The focus must remain on that which unites the party –and the country– which is the disaster of Obamacare and the consequences of the Obama-Hillary-Kerry foreign policy follies.
On this last note, Slate’s Dave Weigel notes what I have been arguing for months: That Hillary’s tenure at State leaves defenders and MSMers speechless. He even missed one of the better Hillary-related exchanges, with lefty talker-and-comic Pete Dominick. But I am glad that he noted it, even though he thought it a stumbled-upon strategy of engagement with Hillary’s record. It wasn’t, even though the discovery of the complete inability of journalists to come up with plausible talking points in her defense was very much a surprise. I have been asking people since the attacks in Benghazi what Hillary did that night and why she never called Greg Hicks back, and for much longer have been pointing to the collapse of America’s standing in the world that occurred on her watch. A post below chronicles the push-back from the Clinton old guard, but one hopes Weigel will pick up the questions: What did Hillary accomplish while at State, and why didn’t she call Hicks back that night? “What difference at this point does it make?” isn’t an acceptable answer to either question.