REPUBLICANS FORCED TO BACK THE BLEEP OFF

If Republicans were trying to make the country love them with whatever they were doing that ended up in a government shutdown, their answer has arrived.

The country hates it.

The country doesn’t like what Barack Obama was doing either, but not nearly has much as they hated what the Republicans were doing.

The latest NBC/WSJ poll shows devastating public rejection of Republicans in the budget/debt/obamacare battle. Call it seven out of ten who think the Republicans were doing everything wrong. A little more than half think the President was wrong. The White House doubtless thinks it won by being less wrong than the other side.

When less wrong is a win, well, it’s still bad. Which is why Democrats and the White House have got off their “no negotiating” mantra. That wasn’t playing well.

As for the Republicans, many in the GOP are blaming Ted Cruz for the damage. And the Cruz allies, including Rand Paul.

Now, what was it the Republicans were so wrong about?

They threatened to not raise the debt ceiling. That’s what the public thought, though it isn’t exactly true. Republicans wanted a debt ceiling extension tied to steps to reduce government spending. Large majorities of Americans support that but somehow that was what the Republicans wanted didn’t come through.

The Republicans evidently got blamed for the government shutdown because they took a stand on changes to Obamacare in exchange for a budget resolution. Since the President would not negotiate on any aspect of Obamacare, the shutdown ensued.

Somehow the Republicans got blamed, even though they quietly dropped the defund movement and switched to changes the public and some Democrats supported: a delay in the individual mandate and an end to the exemption to Obamacare that Congress had given itself.

When you get down to the particulars of what the Republicans did wrong that so offended the public, you probably have to settle on the Ted Cruz. OK. Fine.

But when you consider why and how the Republicans gobbled up such a large helping of blame, you also have to conclude the White House did a much better job of taking its share of blame and dropping it on the plate of someone else.

Deep sigh.

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