It was pretty well a forgone conclusion that Congressional Republicans were going to take it in the proverbial shorts when an agreement is reached in this government shutdown saga. That's the way the cookie crumbles in divided government, especially when your party has a majority in only one legislative body. But this time the GOP has seemingly outdone themselves when it comes to self inflicted wounds. What minor concessions they might have received (i.e. delay of the medical device tax) or political leverage they could have conjured up (the Vitter amendment, which would end government subsidies for congressional health coverage) seems to have crumbled within the GOP House caucus. Why? Apparently a delay of (with the ultimate goal of repealing) the medical device tax, a tax that could severely hamper job growth in such a dynamic industry, is seen by some Republicans as, of all things, crony capitalism. Stupefying.
As I was listening to The Hugh Hewitt show yesterday evening, he was discussing with Robert C. O'Brien and Richard Grenell on how Congressional Republicans seemingly squander every opportunity at delivering a winning message. After all, the GOP could hit back on this demagoguery of how default will take place if the debt ceiling is not raised (a flat out misstatement). There was also a golden opportunity to hit hard with the Vitter amendment, which is a winning issue among the majority of voters.
So why the failure to capitalize on some potential winners? Quite simply, the GOP is all too wary of the Beltway media as well as the Manhattan elitist scribes hitting them with scathing reviews on their handling of the shutdown. It's all too common a dilemma when supposedly principled conservatives are elected and thus vow to change the culture in Washington, DC. Sadly, many politicians often become too entrenched in the bubble. To them, there's almost a heightened unawareness that there is indeed life outside said bubble. With this latest performance, many House Republicans may find themselves on the outside permanently in a little over a year.