ith a deal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling likely to reach President Obama's desk Wednesday night, many Republicans, assessing the past few weeks, have come to the same conclusion: The GOP lost — big time.
The party's approval rating took a huge hit in polls; Democrats opened up a significant edge on generic ballot questions; the fight exposed a deep rifts in the GOP between Tea Partiers and the establishment; and at the end of the day, Republicans got none of the major concessions they wanted.
Here, a sampling of Republican lawmakers who think the party would have been better off avoiding the mess in the first place:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
"What the American people have been put through is one of the more shameful chapters that I have seen in the years that I have spent in the Senate."
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
"Shutting down the government was not a smart strategy...I hope we never do this again and I hope we learn our lessons from this."
"If they're saying the defunding issue is going to come up again in three months, then they've learned nothing from this. If we learned nothing else from this exercise, I hope we learned that we shouldn't get behind a strategy that cannot succeed."
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
"This is far less than many of us had hoped for, frankly, but it's far better than what some had sought."
"It's time for Republicans to unite behind other crucial goals."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
"We took some bread crumbs and left an entire meal on the table. This has been a very bad two weeks for the Republican Party."
"We need to stop the bleeding, lessen the damage to the party."
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.)
"I've said all along, this is madness — it was madness to follow [Sen.] Ted Cruz [R-Texas]. It was absolute madness to say we want to shut down the government, to defund Obamacare. It never made sense and now all we're down to, apparently, is trying to pass a [continuing resolution] to take away health care from congressional employees. That's what we shut down the government for. It makes no sense."
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
"Let's just say sometimes learning what can't be accomplished is an important long-term thing. And hopefully for some of the members they've learned it's impossible to defund mandatory programs by shutting down the federal government."
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)
Nunes calls Cruz Obamacare "lunacy" and Rs are exactly where everyone knew they'd be two weeks ago.— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) October 15, 2013
"These are not conservatives...To be a conservative you need to know how to count," Nunes torches Cruz strategy— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) October 15, 2013
(Nunes, you may remember, previously referred to his GOP colleagues pushing the shutdown as "lemmings with suicide vests.")
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
"Too many were led to believe we could accomplish something that was never possible — namely defunding ObamaCare through a government shutdown."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy
- Attack of the invasive species
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- Which states get screwed worst by the Electoral College?
- Why would a young person today be religious?
Subscribe to the Week