Some foolish liberals, back in 2009-2010, used to blame Barack Obama for things when the actual problem (from their perspective) was that they just didn't have the votes in the Senate. But, to be fair, that was somewhat complicated: Democrats had a large majority, and I can definitely understand the frustration when that large party majority didn't actually work out to a policy majority (in some cases a supermajority, but often just any regular majority) for some specific liberal policies.
So if I called them out on it then, I should probably make note of this utter nonsense from shutdown advocate Erick Erickson:
Throughout this fight, Harry Reid has outsmarted Mitch McConnell. Repeatedly, Reid used the Senate’s rules to toss aside numerous proposals from the House while McConnell looked on not knowing how to fight back.Senate rules are in fact complicated. In this particular case, however, the obscure rule Harry Reid relied upon was...take a vote, and the side with the most votes wins.
Reid knows how to beat McConnell. If Reid fights hard, McConnell backs down and tries to blame others. McConnell’s lieutenants attack Ted Cruz so “the Leader” can deflect from his own legislative impotence. And he continually is one step behind Reid in his knowledge of how to use the Senate’s complicated rules to win a fight.
If you want to get into technicalities, I suppose you can, but none of them mattered. I mean, the Senate was able to pass a clean CR thanks to complicated manipulation of the rules while the Senate failed to pass a clean debt limit increase because Republicans mounted a successful filibuster, but it didn't matter at all -- not at all -- whether those things passed or not. All that mattered was that...well, I was going to say that all that mattered was that McConnell didn't have the votes to pass a "defund" CR, but that's not even true; what mattered was that neither the House nor the Senate had the votes to override a veto on a "defund' CR.
Yes, yes, everyone who understands anything about Congress knows all of that. But Erickson either doesn't know it, or is pretending he doesn't. After all, his remedy is to declare war not on Democratic Senators in marginal seats who voted with their party in this fight, but on McConnell and the other squishes.
The real question is whether sane Republicans are going to fight back against this malarkey. I doubt it; I don't think a couple of weeks of lousy polling is going to be anywhere near enough to overcome what's broken about the GOP.
The perverse incentives for folks like Erickson are still there -- I'm sure he's done quite well from the shutdown. And it's still the case that Republicans see Tea Partiers as a positive force in their 2010 win, just as they saw Newt as responsible for 1994, so even the electoral effects appear far murkier than they actually are.
But at least there's a chance -- no certainty, but a chance -- that we won't go through one of these again for a while.