Columnist: America Should ‘Ignore’ Mike Lee

The liberal political magazine New Republic smacks Sen. Mike Lee, calling him “crazy” for not admitting the tactic to shut down the government turned out to be a political disaster.

Marc Tracy takes note of Lee’s speech at the Heritage Foundation, where he praised the fight to stop Obamacare. Tracy says Lee refused to back down from the shut down, even though it damaged the economy and the GOP’s political fortunes.

Tracy says Americans should “ignore Mike Lee completely until he says he was wrong about the shutdown.”

On the contrary, Lee said, “I am proud of my friend Ted Cruz and the dozens of others—including Speaker John Boehner and the House Republicans—who fought Obamacare, continue to fight it, and will not stop fighting it.” At the outset, he narrated, “It began with our effort to stop Obamacare—a goal that all Republicans share even if we have not always agreed about just how to pursue it.” Absent a declaration that he no longer agrees with how hepursued it, one is forced to conclude that he feels the same way now. 

There is a broader point here. If I ever found the bulk of my political views articulated by somebody whose most prominent action ever—undertaken in the past month and unrepudiated—was as grotesquely irresponsible as what Cruz, Lee, and the House Republicans put us through, it would cause me to question my views. I would reflect upon the fact that Lee and I share these beliefs, and that he logically extends them toward something totally self-destructive and crazy. I would have to conclude either that he is correct to do this, and therefore that my views must be wrong and that I must change them, or that he is not worth listening to, because he takes perfectly good ideas and warps them into something powerfully hazardous. There is apparently no such reckoning among the right’s respectable intellectuals—most of whom did oppose the shutdown itself, and not only for pragmatic reasons.