The Republican faithful may be up in arms about a budget deal championed by Paul Ryan that passed the Senate yesterday, but they should be grateful. The deal is a political masterstroke that will set up the GOP for victory next November. It also shows that Mr. Ryan is smarter and more strategic than many of his fellow conservatives.
In an ideal world, conservatives would fight to the end to cut government regulations in half, shutter cabinet departments, and reduce taxes significantly. But they will not be able to make a dent in any of those priorities if they don’t have the numbers in Congress.
With the glacial legislative pace and divided Congress we now have in Washington, the only real option for Republicans to enact legislation or fulfill conservative ideals is to take control of the Senate (a net of six seats). Barring a major scandal or absolute catastrophe that backfires against the GOP — such as revisiting the suicide strategy championed by Ted Cruz and conservative nihilists to grind government to a halt — Republicans are poised to do just that next year, winning a potentially significant number of seats in the Senate, along with a majority in the House and a majority of governorships. As the respected political analyst Charlie Cook notes, 2014 is a “do or die” moment for Republicans in the Senate. The GOP needs to build a strong Senate majority because in 2016, 24 Republicans will be up for re-election, many of them vulnerable to defeat.