Remember a year-and-a-half or so ago when it looked like the Tea Party had been sufficiently cowed, driven back to their trailers and rest homes by the very melting pot electorate they so feared? Remember when it looked like we'd never have to see Sarah Palin again, that like all modern reality TV stars she'd worn out her 15 minutes? Remember all the times lately when we really believed that the madness was over, that the GOP and the American right in general had no choice but to accept that they were going to have to change or face inevitable demographic extinction?
Each and every time, they refused to learn their lesson. They may have licked their wounds and soul-searched for a couple of days, but it was always only a matter of time before the need began to cry out; the little demons in their collective head began enticing them with lies, phony rationales, and promises of how it will be better next time; and, like any addict, they got back on the horse and imagined everything would be just fine. They kept telling themselves over and over again: "It's not your fault." And all of that -- the arrogance and delusion and unwillingness to allow that moment of clarity to grow roots and bear fruit -- is what led us to the past few weeks. It's what led the country and the world to the absolute brink of economic disaster, to be rescued only at the last minute by cooler, saner heads. The Republicans capitulated to their own incoherent rage, took the country hostage, and got nothing for it -- nothing other than the scorn of much of the public.
So, with that in mind, you may be wondering right now whether this time was different. Whether the Republicans and the ultra-conservative fanatics who've taken control of their party finally learned their lesson. Whether we'll now have a little peace and some compromise instead of going from crisis to crisis to crisis and proving over and over again that the greatest superpower in the world has become an ungovernable laughingstock.
Wonder no more.
"I'm more upset with my Republican conference, to be honest with you. It's been Republicans here who apparently always want to fight, but they want to fight the next fight, that have given Speaker Boehner the inability to be successful in this fight. So if anybody should be kicked out, it's probably those Republicans... who are unwilling to keep the promises they made to the American people. Those are the people who should be looking behind their back." -- Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID)
"I think we're going to see a drumbeat out there that our spineless leaders caved. If we had held on, we would've defaulted, but it wouldn't have made any difference. Obama would have caved, and we would have gotten what we wanted." -- Norm Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute
"We've been talking amongst this group for the last four weeks about fairness... That is a winning argument for us. Somebody asked whether it would be different next time, in January or February, whenever we take this up again. The natural inclination is to say 'No, it will be exactly the same. But if we can figure out a way to drive that message home, that this is about fairness... then the outcome may well be different." -- Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)
"Mississippi needs a strong fiscal conservative in the Senate who will fight President Obama and his agenda of higher taxes and bigger government. Senator Chris McDaniel is ready to take the fight straight to the liberals in Washington who have led us to $17 trillion in debt. Club members look forward to strongly supporting his candidacy in the primary and general elections next year." -- Club For Growth President Chris Chocola, who is already endorsing a primary challenger to Republican Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi after he in favor of the deal that reopened the government
"Be energized. We're going to shake things up in 2014. Rest well tonight, for soon we must focus on important House and Senate races. Let's start with Kentucky — which happens to be awfully close to South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi — from sea to shining sea we will not give up. We've only just begun to fight." -- Sarah Palin, who's once again hinting at a run for the presidency in 2016
"Can you imagine in this last fight if we'd have had five or ten Ted Cruzes. Can you imagine the different dynamic... If we had 45 Ted Cruzes in the Senate we'd come close to wining every vote... -- Rush Limbaugh
"I would say the surrender caucus is the whiner caucus, and all they do is whine about the battle, as if they thought being elected to Washington was going to be an easy job." -- Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS.)
"We must advance. Two Republicans in the Senate caused this fight that their colleagues would have surrendered on more quickly but for them. Imagine a Senate filled with more. We have an opportunity to replace Mitch McConnell in Kentucky with a better conservative. We should do that... as more Americans watch Obamacare fail them through the Republican primary season, conservatives will be able to put the focus on Republicans who funded Obamacare instead of fighting it. Whether they like it or not, Republicans in Congress will find their names on ballots in 2014. They cannot hide or escape fate." -- Erick Erickson, who yesterday on Twitter predicted a bloodbath primary season for sitting Republicans
So there you have it. I think it's best to end with this: