While I am not usually an optimist by nature, I do feel there are three things progressives can be grateful for during this whole shutdown/debt ceiling fiasco:
One: The President managed to keep his healthcare law intact, regardless of whether or not the medical device tax is sacrificed in a deal. Republican attempts to repeal, defund, or delay it have not only thoroughly failed, they have managed to allow Obama to turn the tables on them and regain the mojo he lost in the 2011 debt-ceiling fiasco. Way to go, geniuses.
Two: Republicans, by insisting on shutting down the government over repealing, defunding or delaying the ACA, have managed to do what years of Democratic campaigning have been unable to: split the GOP into two warring factions. Establishment Republicans are furious at the Tea Party for picking a fight with no end game and no chance of success. And Tea Partiers have doubled down on their rhetoric and are threatening to primary any Republican who bails on the cause. Oh, please, God, pretty please!
Three: The public has finally figured out what the Tea Party is and what they’re up to. The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll speaks for itself. Republican popularity has now plummeted to the level of a sex offender on the lamb. In fact, you could say the public is way ahead of the main-stream press, most of whom seem obsessed with this nonsensical, both sides are to blame, false equivalence argument. By almost 2 to 1, the public rightfully blames the GOP for the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis. It’s about fucking time.
To be honest, the third point impresses me the most. Those who know me will tell you I’ve never been much of an optimist when it comes to the public being able to figure out on their own the truth behind the whole Tea Party movement. Basically, most of them have been too busy with their mundane lives to pay much attention to it anyway. A simple glance at the ratings of various TV shows is all you need to know about what most people value. Fact is, you could add up all the viewers of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC and they wouldn’t equal the number of viewers who tune in to watch Two and a Half Men or Big Bang Theory.
So it was a pleasant surprise to learn just how on top the public was regarding the causes of the government shutdown. Even those who self identify as Republicans have criticized their party for its conduct. This wasn’t what they thought they were getting when they went to the polls in November of 2010. Many of them are reevaluating their overall opinion of the GOP. As a result, if the midterm elections were held today, Democrats would hold the Senate and regain the House.
While there’s still a whole year to go before the actual midterms, Republicans have taken a huge hit in the eyes of a good many people. If the Tea Party decides to up the anti and follow through with their primary threats, 2014 could prove to be a VERY good year for Democrats.
And for that we can all be grateful.