Disapproval of congressional Republicans’ budget wrangling after a weeklong shutdown has shot up to 70 percent, with 51 percent disapproving “strongly,” according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
It’s true that most voters aren’t pleased with Congressional Democrats or Obama, either, but both the extent and the intensity of disapproval are significantly worse for the GOP. (Strong disapproval of Republicans’ handling of things among registered voters is a little higher still at 53%.) That’s not a surprise when no one, including Republicans in Congress, can explain what the GOP hopes to achieve at this point. When Republicans are consistently on the wrong side of public opinion on these questions by a more than three-to-one margin, they must be suffering substantial political damage. Whether that damage is long-lasting or temporary depends in part on what Republicans in Congress do next.
One of the new arguments that Republicans in Congress are floating is that breaching the debt ceiling won’t result in default. Not only is this not true, but it is indefensibly reckless to pretend that the rest of the world will react to a failure to raise the debt ceiling this way. If they continue blithely blundering towards the possibility of default, they will receive and will deserve to receive the lion’s share of blame for any costs that this pointless standoff has imposed on the country.