Peter Robinson begins to panic:
Republicans face a single imperative--just one exigency--and it isn't cutting the budget this year. It's defeating President Obama next year. Only then--only with a Republican in the White House--can truly deep budget cuts begin. Insisting, as Rand Paul has done, on cutting $500 billion right now? Refusing, as Marco Rubio has done, to vote on any more continuing resolutions, even if they include modest but genuine cuts? Sheer self-indulgence.
What Robinson doesn't grasp is that the GOP is currently incapable of making that kind of strategic call. Because it is in the grips of a near-religious fanaticism. This fanaticism doesn't even have the advantage of coherence. If it were dedicated to real long-term cuts in defense and entitlements, it might dislodge the current impasse. But it seems rather intent on trivial partisan cuts (NPR, Planned Parenthood), and austerity at the one moment it can be counter-productive, during a fragile recovery. And so the Republicans are both immune to persuasion and headed for a repeat of 1996. Money quote from Robinson:
I have to tell you, I feel as though I'm watching one of those controlled, slow-motion car crashes. Only instead of a dummy, inside there are 87 GOP House freshmen who have no idea--no idea at all--what's about to happen to them.