But don’t give yourself away
(Lyrics from “Surrender“ by Cheap Trick)

In his first (and last) appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) immediately and repeatedly agreed with Leno when the now-retired host suggested that Republicans were to blame for the October 2013 government shutdown.

That perspective is more agreed with than disagreed with among the electorate, the media, and perhaps even much of the GOP. But the almost gleeful way in which Mr. Boehner implicitly blamed the conservative wing of his own party rather than castigating President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for their tyrannical “we will not negotiate” approach has many Republicans, especially those affiliated with the Tea Party, less inclined than ever to cooperate with House leadership and more cynical than ever about its true goals.

On Wednesday afternoon, the United States Senate, by a 67-31 vote, gave President Obama his much desired “clean” debt ceiling increase just 48 hours after the House of Representatives had passed the same measure. The Senate shenanigans included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voting in favor of the bill after most other Republicans had voted “No.”

As the Washington Times reported:

After he voted, his top lieutenants, who had already voted against the debt increase, switched — and then went to other rank-and-file Republicans and asked them to switch too, trying to present a united front. “Alright, let’s go — come on down,” Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who had earlier switched from “No” to “Yes,” told his colleagues on the floor. But few of them followed their leaders, leaving the dozen Republicans who backed the debt increase on a precarious political ledge.

It is in this context, one of remarkably public disunity, that one must consider both the “clean” debt ceiling passage — in which only 28 Republicans voted with nearly unanimous Democrats to pass the bill in the House — as well as the implications for the GOP going forward: How can a group with such deep divisions claim to be a credible governing party, or win enough seats to prove it?

Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:

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