So Republicans in Congress finally folded, admitted they had nothing, and went for a deal that could have been done well before the government shut down. The United States is funded through January 15th and we won't have another debt ceiling battle until February 7th. The GOP is either admitting defeat, or trying to put a happy face on their humiliation. Democrats are slapping themselves on the back, congratulating themselves on a big victory. Here's a memo to the celebrants.
DON'T GET CARRIED AWAY!
The Republicans, in particular the Tea Party caucus of the House, aren't going anywhere. Neither are their enablers, the conservative think tanks and business interests that put them up to the fight over Obamacare in the first place. Recent and past history tells us it won't take long for Republicans to come up with a new strategy. It will likely take aim (as it usually does) on programs that help the poor and elderly.
Make no mistake. The wounds of the government shutdown are indeed self-inflicted, done so by people who represent a minority of the American electorate but constantly lay their actions on the altar of "The American people." No matter. As we careen toward the next deadline, the GOP will take dead aim at Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps.
They will proclaim a "crisis" in all of these programs, and will argue the only way to solve it is to make cuts in benefits to each. They may even make another run at the Affordable Care Act, but they know if they convince the public that these programs are "unsustainable", they'll leave Obamacare aside and go for the jugular. Don't put another shutdown or default threat past these people.
If someone like me can predict this, congressional Democrats ought to prepare themselves in advance to fight them off. They did an admirable job, starting with the president, in the recently concluded battle. Now they have to prepare for the next battle in this ongoing war on the poor and elderly.
Are they up for it? One would hope so.