[S]ome Republicans were declaring a victory of sorts -- maybe not now, but down the road -- for what the media had already judged to be a historic debacle. They had revealed President Obama to be a cynical political operator. They had proved to voters that they did everything they could to stop Obamacare. When the next spending fight comes around, they insisted that enduring this shutdown would strengthen their position. "It depends on whether or not we're able to articulate why we did what we did," said South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a conservative who voted against Boehner for speaker but sings hosannas for him now. "We believe we did it for the right reasons. We believe it was good policy. We believe good policy makes good politics. But we have to be able to explain that policy in order to accomplish it. I did an interview with a local radio station back home a week ago, and it started with them saying it was 'just seven days until default.' That was an indication that our message was not getting out."
They aren't angry with Speaker John Boehner for ultimately capitulating to Democratic demands. They're frustrated with their more mainstream colleagues who put him in that position. "I'm more upset with my Republican conference, to be honest with you. It's been Republicans here who apparently always want to fight, but they want to fight the next fight, that have given Speaker Boehner the inability to be successful in this fight," Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) told reporters Wednesday. "So if anybody should be kicked out, it's probably those Republicans... who are unwilling to keep the promises they made to the American people. Those are the people who should be looking behind their back.