You've all heard that the House GOP doesn't care about national political victories. Its 80+/- Tea types are supposedly so secure in their gerrymandered districts that they don't care about disgracing their party in the eyes of the nation by shutting down the government or putting us into default on the debt. The "national GOP brand" means nothing to them.
Not entirely true. There are some far-right conservatives in the House and Senate who do care just dreadfully about the national brand. I'm talking about those who want to be president.
First and foremost is Rep. Paul Ryan, the guy who didn't make it as the GOP VP candidate in 2012. Every day and every night since the election he tells himself, "Without Romney, I would have won." (They all do that.) He's undoubtedly going to go for top spot next time. Meantime he's considered the arch-budget guy in the House. As is typical of the GOP, his budget numbers don't actually add up, as you may recall from the 2012 campaign. But what the hey, facts and numbers don't stand in the way of the GOP these days.
So here comes ol' Paul yesterday, leaping right past the supposed heads of the House GOP, i.e. John Boehner and Eric Cantor. With cool chutzpah, Paul put out his own manifesto as to what the Democrats have to do to get the government open and the debt ceiling raised.
There was nothing about Obamacare in his demands.
Nor had Boehner mentioned it on TV Sunday or yesterday when he certainly had the chance.
The Tea Party's Number One demand had suddenly disappeared like money does out of my purse.
At first one might have concluded that Boehner had simply forgotten what had been the central demand of the House GOP. After all, he can't seem to remember what he says or what he does most of the time. But coming from Paul Ryan, this change of topic is significant.
It marks the end of the impasse.
As I noted in an earlier posting, there had to be some Republicans in the House who understood that President Obama would never destroy his Affordable Health Care Act to meet an extortion demand from the GOP. The Act had its beginnings when he was a boy and watched his mother on the phone arguing with the health insurance company while dying of cancer. This scene might have been his chief motive in running for president. He knows other people are dying because of the insurance companies' abuses. Too many of us have lost a family member this way or a close friend this way.
What Boehner signaled on Sunday and Monday and Ryan confirmed yesterday is twofold: (1) the House GOP leadership will settle for just having some talks about the usual budget things and the entitlements and won't try to scuttle the Health Care Act, and (2) the more grown-up of the House GOP are taking back control of the situation.
Obama has already said he'll "even spring again for dinner" to get talks going. But he too made two things clear yesterday: (1) no talks, no nothing, no way while the GOP continues to "hold a gun" on the American people with the shutdown and threatened default, and (2) the GOP may not get what it wants from the talks. He's still holding the line where he has to.
Next comes the part where the government gets funded for a limited time and the debt ceiling gets raised for a limited time while the two sides have that "conversation" John Boehner wants so badly.
Then he and Ryan will go back to the Tea Party people and say, "We've all tried everything to end Obamacare. You put up a good fight. We even shut down the government. But Obama is not going to budge and we can't let you destroy the American economy and the Republican party. It's over, boys and girls. Now let's have a recess. "
At least we can hope this is what's happening, right?