This isn’t quite right. Sure, Ryan and McConnell wanted a longer horizon on the debt ceiling. This risked scuttling the whole bill, but they figured that tying the debt ceiling to Harvey aid gave them a decent shot at passing it even though the ultras would yell and scream. It was a risk they were willing to take.But the continuing resolution on the budget was never going to be longer than three months. This means that Ryan and McConnell were always going to be hip deep in budget negotiations all the way through the end of the year. I can’t imagine they ever entertained the prospect of clearing this off their plates.
In other words, the only thing they lost yesterday was the fight over the debt ceiling. But that costs them very little. If they can put together a budget that gets Democratic support—which they’ll need if they want to bust the sequestration cap on defense spending—they can almost certainly get Democratic support for raising the debt ceiling too. This does make things harder for them, since they need 60 votes in the Senate to raise the debt ceiling, but a budget agreement would come with assurances of enough Democratic votes to get it through.This is why I don’t think Republicans lost much yesterday. The rest of the year was going to be tied up with budget negotiations no matter what, and tying the debt ceiling bill to the budget only makes things slightly harder. The debt ceiling gives Democrats a little more leverage, but only a little.
Unless I’m missing something, that is. Am I?A couple of weeks ago I read Frances FitzGerald’s The Evangelicals, and I was a little surprised to learn that the evangelical movement has been in pretty weak shape for the past decade or so. One reason is that the old warhorses—Falwell, Robertson, Dobson—are either old or dead, and very few new warhorses have taken their place as leaders of the movement. What’s worse, many of the new ones who have developed high public profiles, like Rick Warren, are less interested in the old social hot buttons and prefer to devote more of their time to things like helping the poor. This partly explains why evangelicals were so eager to support Donald Trump, even though he’s pretty obviously the least godly president in recent memory. They were looking for any port in a storm, and their followers liked Trump. So they jumped on his coattails in hopes that some of his popularity would rub off on them.