For Republicans, the shutdown turned into a slapdown and the default into their fault.
The GOP lost the debate, lost the battle for public opinion and put itself in a deep, deep hole for the 2014 elections. Governor McCrory’s DHHS debacle, $87,000 salaries and $230,000 bathrooms pale in significance.
The issues in the shutdown-default battle escape most Americans. It’s too big, too complicated and too easy to dismiss as just more Washington dysfunction.
But one thing is clear: the public blames the Republicans. They blame the Tea Party even more. They like both less than ever. They like President Obama and Democrats more than before. And they even like Obamacare more than before.
All this was shown in last week’s NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, which apparently shocked Republicans into staging a retreat. It found that, by 53-31, the public blames Republicans more than Obama.
Just 24 percent have a favorable opinion of the GOP, and only 21 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party. Both numbers are all-time lows in the history of poll.
Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who did the poll with Republican Bill McInturff, said: “These numbers lead to one inescapable conclusion: The Republicans are not tone deaf; they are stone deaf.”
It’s beyond most of us what exactly has been going on in Washington and what it means. But we’re clear on who to blame.