Second, tea party ideology also involves a counterproductive disdain for the Republican Party. "Let me be clear," Cruz famously said, "I don't trust the Republicans." Other tea party activists spin third-party fantasies. But the Republican Party is the only institution capable of reversing Obamacare. Here is an actual iron rule: A measure passed by a Democratic president, House and Senate (and approved by the Supreme Court) can be reversed only by a Republican president, House and Senate. And the picking of lopsided, losing fights makes this prospect less likely.
Third, these strategic considerations make no difference to those who regard strategy itself as evidence of compromise. In this view, the hopeless battles are the most purifying. This is the romance of Cruz and of Custer — but both are myths that end in pointless defeat.
Michael Gerson's email address is email@example.com.
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