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‘Obama won. His prize is lame duck presidency’…

The shutdown is basically over and the President has won. Or, at least, he’s won because the Republicans have definitely lost. Not only did they not get what they wanted – that “life or death” delay on Obamacare implementation – but they’ve given the impression of dragging partisanship to new lows. Obamacare had been passed already, the Supreme Court had okayed it and Obama had won an election on it, yet the GOP was still prepared to bring the country to the brink of ruin to cripple it. When Grover Norquist is saying that the Right went too far (he of the “drown government in the bath tub” fame) then the Right probably went a bit too far.

But there are caveats to that narrative. First, the Republicans aren’t the only ones who ought to hang their heads in shame. It was the Democrat-controlled Senate that first rejected the House’s bill and so sparked the crisis. It was the President who refused to talk to anyone about it (and went campaigning instead). It was the federal government – even when in shutdown – that behaved like a spoiled child, covering war memorials in fences and trying to stop military priests from saying Mass. And it was the mainstream media that took the side of the President and helped foster the impression that the GOP is run by a bunch of blowhard crazy people. For example, Dave Weigel points out that, contrary to reports, wild child Ted Cruz actually had “no intention” of delaying the critical final vote in the Senate. His image of being Sarah Palin 2.0 is entirely a media myth.

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Dr Tim Stanley is a historian of the United States. His biography of Pat Buchanan is out now. His personal website is www.timothystanley.co.uk and you can follow him on Twitter @timothy_stanley.

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