My dad gave me a very sound piece of advice, he explained to the young Badger that the aim of the game was to win the war; individual victories were nice but keep your eye on the prize and focus on the final outcome.

Relating this to the battle of Washington which ended Thursday, with the Republican Congress agreeing to a temporary ceasefire the question is what effect this battle has had on the ideological war.

The Republicans’ attempt to hold the Government and economy hostage, demanding as a ransom the repeal of chunks of the Affordable Care Act, failed. The threat was predicated on the belief that they were actually mad and bad enough to blow everything up, their bluff was called and they blinked, but this was a lost battle not an ending of the war.

Their public approval numbers are now amongst the lowest recorded, they have been deafened by respected commentators of all hues lambasting their reckless actions but in reality enough of them still really don’t much care or believe what they are doing is wrong.

The two sides will now try over the next few months to reach a peace accord, some budget cuts will be agreed, possibly some revenue increases as well but it is sadly, frustratingly, pointlessly likely that the battle will be fought again in early 2014.

Every time this happens the US suffers a hit to its prestige and international standing. Its own economy loses tens of billions and the world economy loses more.

The dollar falls in value, its sovereign debt costs go up, internal and external investment is delayed or allocated elsewhere and to what end?

The mantra of the radical Congressional Republicans is to make America stronger and lower deficits.

But by its actions rather than its dogma it is a footballer playing on a team saying it wants that team to win whilst smashing the ball repeatedly into its own net, own goal after own goal.

It’s über dumb, lacking in any coherent logic, hugely self-defeating and it will keep happening until the next Congressional elections, at which time hopefully the Tea Party element is removed from office.

The truly depressing thought though is that those that voted for them last time still equally don’t believe they are wrong either.


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