House Conservatives mad that they didn't actually destroy the government and world economy
"We're concerned that some people who aren't rich or white or men might possibly see their lives improved by tax moneys. A shutdown would have stopped that. May god have mercy on our souls," no one was quoted as saying.
For a certain block of House conservatives, the ones who drove Speaker John Boehner toward a government shutdown and near-default against his will, the lesson of the last few weeks isn't that they overreached. Not that they made unachievable demands, put their leadership in an impossible position, damaged their party's position with the public and left a deep uncertainty about whether the GOP conference can recover and legislate.
No, what they're taking away from the 2013 crisis is: They didn't go far enough.
They aren't angry with Speaker John Boehner for ultimately capitulating to Democratic demands. They're frustrated with their more mainstream colleagues who put him in that position.
"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," Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) told reporters Wednesday. "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."
Polarized politics have become the norm in the United States, and the first government shutdown in 17 years is its most extreme manifestation. But long-time Congress watchers don't see the fever breaking any time soon, even after the debacle of the last few weeks. Rather, as these early responses from the House GOP's right flank indicate, we might instead see conservatives become even more entrenched in their positions when the same drama plays out in early 2014.