There is still more wringing of hands to get through, and a bit more shouting, but the actual "crisis" over the debt ceiling and the government shutdown has been over for some time. As Senator John McCain said yesterday, "The Republicans have to accept that we have lost."
Now we just have to wait while Republican House Speaker John Boehner finishes luring the Tea Partyers through the very last steps to their demise.
And it's going just fine. The Tea Party is still doing exactly what Boehner wants them to by throwing yet another tantrum.
Today they predictably hung tough against the compromise the Senate worked out yesterday and then screamingly rejected a "plan" Speaker Boehner came up with this afternoon. Neither of these legislative vehicles proposed any real harm to Obamacare, and this of course enraged the Tea Partyers in the House.
Their seniors in their own party, such as Senator John McCain, have been telling them for weeks they weren't going to get repeal of Obamacare or its delay, and John Boehner never intended they should. For a couple of weeks he seemed to support their "my way or the highway" stance as they shouted, "Defund Obamacare or we'll shut down the government and put the nation in default on its debt." But he was only encouraging them to shoot their wad and then die away.
As I've suggested all along, Boehner wanted them to do just what they have done: humiliate themselves, threaten the economy, and terrify the moneyed interests that had been backing them. Frightened by the looming default on our debt, the moneyed interests last week turned the tables and threatened they may "primary" the Tea Partyers, i.e. run more moderate candidates against them in their primaries. This threat serves Beohner well. He wants the upstart and obnoxious and unruly Tea Partyers off his back and docile so he can run the House Republican caucus, not they. He wants his power back. And he likely is getting it. Moderation and compromise may therefore return to D.C.
Since the House Tea Partyers have today rejected both the Senate compromise plan and the plan Boehner was offering, all the time has run out. On Thursday the default arrives. Under this gun Boehner can now turn to the House Republicans and say, "Sorry, boys and girls, I have to no choice but to put the Senate proposal to a vote on the House floor because I could not get the House Republicans to agree on an alternative."
Thus the House Democrats and seventeen of Boehner's less-crazy fellow House Republicans can - at the last moment of the last hour - save the country from default on our debt, rid us all of the illusion that Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz really exist, and finally, finally reopen the Grand Canyon.
The Tea Party bet its wad on forcing the defunding of Obamacare. Remember? That's what this was all supposed to be about. They not only bet their wad but also shot their wad, threatening the ultimate terror of a default on our debt. Their extortion didn't work. They have lost all credibility. Their wads are but spitballs now.
Thanks to President Obama for holding firm on Obamacare and protecting the principle that our democracy is not up for grabs by extortion. Thanks to Speaker Boehmer for pretending to be on the Tea Party side and luring them to jump off a cliff. Thanks to the often selfish moneybags who saw their money threatened and for once did something good for the country. Thanks to Senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid for playing at being spitting cats until just the right moment, thus producing a "compromise" when it was too late for the non-Tea-Party House GOP to do anything but accept it.
We the people are going to be okay now and so is the Affordable Health Care Act.
The carnival nonsense of a splinter of a party has been neutered by skilled political grownups working across both parties to out-maneuver the brats.
Louis Armstrong was right: It is a wonderful world!
And a beautiful autumn. Enjoy!