The shutdown has become the story in D.C. But it shouldn't be. The story should be about how the tea party movement has finally begun to penetrate the thick skin of status quo politicians, who were determined to keep growing government come hell or high water.
We're still light years away from getting our debt under control. But the folks who are pushing back against the tide of big government have gained the upper hand, even though they only control one of the three elected bodies of government. That's huge news. It's also huge news that it's tea party, pro-growth Republicans who are coming up with the newest and freshest plans now being debated, like Paul Ryan's revolutionary 2012 budget.
Those who argue that more government is needed to grow the economy, save jobs or save lives sound hopelessly out of date. Here's Harry Reid talking about the move to cut Planned Parenthood funding earlier today: "Republicans want to shut down our nation's government because they want to make it harder for women to get the health services they need."
Sen. Reid's logic is not only shaky but his tone is hysterical. Americans won't die if Planned Parenthood is forced to simply adhere to an existing law that bans use of federal funds for abortion. Government funding of Planned Parenthood is not the key to a longer, healthier life.
At the same time, Republicans should not lose sight of the progress they have made in turning around the debate. To get pulled down in the rip tide of a government shutdown for the sake of issues that can be resolved later would be foolish. Mike Huckabee said it best on FBN earlier today: "Nobody is more pro-life than me. Nobody. But as much as I want to see Planned Parenthood de-funded, as much as I want to see NPR lose their funding, the reality is the President and the Senate are never going to go along with that. So win the deal you can win. And live to fight another day."
We tend to agree with the governor. There will be time to defund the special interests, just like Acorn was defunded in the last Congress. The debt ceiling and the 2012 budget are only weeks away. It's time to set the bar for those debates, rather than get bogged down in issues that can be taken up later. If the Dems are still holding back on cuts, then dig in. But if the current money battle has been won, declare victory, and keep the powder dry for the bigger battles to come.