I have a friend who is a DC Republican with plenty of hands-on experience on the House side of Capitol Hill. He is a religious and political conservative, but has more than had it with the hardliners in his own party. I asked him for his take on the GOP fiasco. He writes:

The problem wasn’t that the hard-right caucus within the House GOP couldn’t agree with leadership on policy. It’s that the core of their brand is anti-establishment and anti-leadership, and so any package that could actually pass the House and Senate was ipso facto unacceptable to that crowd.

These are folks who ran for office by selling an apocalyptic vision about debt and Obamacare, and painting themselves as the Pure Defenders of the Constitution. All they must do is hold the line and the American people will rally to their cause!

And what do you know? The money-changers have wasted no time in moving the goalposts yet again! Actual quote from the Erick Erickson post:

We only need a few good small businessmen and women to stand up and challenge these Republicans who are caving. If they refuse to fight for us, we must fight them. It is the only way we will finally be able to fight against Obamacare.

I am tired of funding Republicans who campaign against Obamacare then refuse to fight. It’s time to find a new batch of Republicans to actually practice what the current crop preaches.

You see? The reason the Republicans lost is because they just didn’t try hard enough! Be more obstinate next time!

This isn’t a fundraising pitch from three years ago. It was posted this morning! No lessons will be learned because the ones who benefit politically from this nonsense have no interest in learning lessons.

I’m not surprised to see politicians behaving cynically and manipulatively. But happily engineering a crisis that can only discredit your own side seems to be a new twist.

An interesting aspect of this analysis: the Tea Party hardliners are incapable of being led, because they are obsessed with ideological purity over prudence, and engage in magical thinking about politics — that is, the idea that if they only want something badly enough, they can make it happen.