Mistakes were made; it’s time to move on

That’s basically Jonah Goldberg’s take on the Republican Party’s conduct regarding the Continuing Resolution and the government shutdown. And I basically agree with him.

Certainly, mistakes were made — either by Ted Cruz and House hardliners (as I believe) or by Republicans who disagreed with Cruz’s approach. And, in principle, it is time to move on. As Goldberg says:

Endless internecine screaming about what went wrong is exactly what Obama wanted out of this. Why give it to him if it won’t produce anything worthwhile? As an intellectual or historical question, I think it’s a great thing to debate. As a political touchstone, it’s poisonous.

The House will likely vote on whatever crap sandwich (to borrow a phrase from Speaker Boehner) the Senate sends over and it will probably pass with more Democratic votes than Republican ones. And then this chapter will be over. After which, the wise course would be to say, “What happened happened,” and move on to finding a coherent strategy everyone on the right can more or less get behind.

But in 2015, campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination will begin in earnest. Most, if not all, of the candidates will have taken a position on the CR/shutdown. Some who were front-and-center in this controversy will probably be candidates.

At that point, the question of who was right and who was wrong about the shutdown will not be academic. If, for example, the shutdown turns out to have been a win in the fight against Obamacare, big government, and/or Democrats, this outcome will weigh heavily in favor of Ted Cruz’s candidacy (if it materializes). And vice versa.

Until then, it would be nice to move. But with a high-stakes debate looming over who was right and who was wrong, there’s probably no way it will be deferred.