Polling shows more Americans blame the GOP than Barack Obama. I think this means the GOP is winning. You'll need to let me explain.
Republican leaders have lived in abject fear for the last two months that there would be an overwhelming backlash against them. In 1995, public opinion ran against the GOP 2 to 1. Bill Clinton consistently got the better of the GOP.
With that history in mind, the GOP leadership in Washington, when no fundraising off Ted Cruz's hard line, has been soiling itself afraid the GOP might actually go along with him.
And the party did.
The result? Independents blame both the Democrats and the Republicans about equally. Overall, the GOP gets the most blame, but not a whole lot more than the Democrats. The CNN push alert to my phone yesterday summed it up pretty succinctly:
That's it. Slightly more people blame the GOP than the Democrats. Not an overwhelming stomping like GOP leaders feared. The public hates Washington, regardless of side, and some of the hate toward the GOP is from its own side for not fighting.
That a clear and large majority of the public disagrees with the GOP's reasons in this shut down, but only slightly more blame the GOP than the Democrats, is a very good thing.
When the media, Republican establishment pundits, and the Democrats have all aligned to attack Ted Cruz and conservatives, but only slightly more of the public blames the GOP than the Democrats, this is a real win for our side.
The House, led by Senators Cruz and Lee, on the path of small funding bills, has shown the public the GOP is willing to be reasonable on all issues except Obamacare.
This, again, is why the GOP needs to go on and extend the debt ceiling. It needs to get off the table so we can focus on defunding Obamacare.
At the same time, the GOP needs to understand that Vitter and/or the medical device tax is not enough.