WASHINGTON – In the last-second deal to reopen the government and prevent a default on the nation’s debt, Republicans failed to gain any concessions regarding Obamacare, saw their approval ratings drop to historic lows, and were largely blamed for creating self-inflicted wounds to both their party and the nation. Meanwhile, Democrats held firm, refused to negotiate, and came away with everything they demanded. The end result has been seen by and large as a resounding victory for the Democratic Party.
Not so fast, say Beltway pundits. In fact, many in the media are now saying that it was the Republicans, not the Democrats, who emerged victorious from this skirmish.
“As the dust settles, Republicans might find themselves pretty content with the outcome of this battle,” said CNN contributor Julian Zeilzer. “The battle has also been beneficial to Republicans… Nor is it clear that there will be any negative consequences to them for having gone to the brink of a federal default in their fight for concessions on the budget deal.”
The National Journal’s Michael Hirsh agrees. “In a longer time frame, all this must be counted as a victory [for Tea Party Republicans],” he says.
Indeed, even though the GOP caved entirely and have earned the eternal scorn and shame of the entire world, media outlets are lining up to hand them the victory. Expert say this is because few in the media have ever known a world where Democrats came out on the winning side of a political confrontation, and they simply cannot comprehend the possibility.
“Despite the left’s claim, this is not a defeat for Cruz. In fact, he won,” wrote the Washington Times’ Sara Marie Brenner. Though she admitted “it may be difficult to see the victory through the dust left behind.”
The Examiner.com’s Mark Whittington article ‘Ted Cruz Wins the Government Shutdown by Refusing to Admit Defeat ‘ also paints the end result as a victory for Texas Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz, widely seen as the architect of the strategy. According to Whittington, Cruz succeeded through a powerful strategy of denial and megalomania.
Other news outlets were more direct with their praise for the GOP. “The Republicans got everything they wanted from the government shutdown,” said CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “They forced the President to kill Obamacare and replace it with the Affordable Care Act, they lowered taxes for the 1%, and they eliminated the Minimum Wage altogether.”
One thing on which pundits within the Beltway agree is that the GOP has the Democrats up against the wall, and unless the Democratic Party finds a way to move further to the right, they will, in Zeilzer’s words, “find themselves on the losing side of this issue over and over again.”