The news from the nation's capital is all about how Republicans are preparing to surrender to the Obama administration in the debt ceiling and government shutdown standoff. The debt ceiling will be raised, a continuing budget resolution passed, and Republicans will walk away empty handed. That, at least, is the way things look now.
But when they look at their empty hands, Republicans might want to ask themselves: what was it we hoped to gain?
It was always unlikely that the Obama administration would agree to delay the implementation of Obamacare.
In the eyes of the Democrats, Obamacare is the single most important accomplishment of the administration. When top Democratic politicians talk among themselves, they describe the Affordable Care Act as a grand historic triumph, the product of decades of work by progressives.
That's not something you can expect anyone to give up as part of a budget compromise.
There's talk that the Obama administration might be willing to delay or repeal the medical device tax. If this is what the Republicans win, it may even be worse than walking away empty handed. It will look like the Republican Party shut down the government just to win a gift for corporate backers.
This is, in many ways, a crisis in search of a cause. Republicans are fighting the good fight—it's just not clear what they are fighting for.
That's very odd. For most of my life, Republicans fancied themselves as members of the "party of ideas," as Democrat Sen. Patrick Moynihan described the GOP in 1981. How has the party of Ronald Reagan found itself bereft of vision?
The answer is that they have lost faith in one of the most important policies in the Republican armory: The tax cut.