I know what you're going through, people. I've been there. I don't want to brag, but government shutdowns are kind of my thing.
You get a great idea to reform the whole system. Radical? Sure, maybe. "But damnit," you think, "It's got to be done."
And then the whole thing collapses. Someone exposes your role in the plot, and suddenly everyone thinks you're the Bad Guys. Yeesh.
Look, I'll level with you: Once you start making those bold choices it's difficult to control the narrative. Some people are going to look at the chaos you're causing, and they're just not going to see the bright side. I should know. I mean, once you stack a couple dozen barrels of gunpowder beneath someone's workstation, they get testy. The trust is gone. It's going to be hard to go back to your Congress, look across the aisle at people whose government you tried to sabotage, and get them to cooperate with you. And it's definitely going to be hard to convince ordinary American voters to give you any real power.
My advice is to roll with it. You're not going to make people think this was the other guy's fault. There just aren't enough American voters who are that stupid. When they got me, I didn't try to convince anyone those cellars were trying to blow up themselves.
You're no longer going to sell people on the idea that you're sober, responsible lawmakers. But you can still make this fringe nutjob thing work for you. Play to your strengths. Have Cruz shut down the Senate with readings every week -- do the rapey Ayn Rand stuff and maybe sneak in that Game of Thrones fanfic he's working on. Put Michele Bachmann on heavy TV rotation, and just let her work her Stepford acid-drenched magic. Rand Paul needs to go out to his shack in the woods and finally finish the manifesto, so you can share that baby with the world.
You might not get elected to the big offices (and I'm leaning heavily on the word "might," here)... but people will respect you for being true to yourselves.
This isn't Obama's shutdown. It's not a Democratic shutdown. It's your shutdown, and by God, you'd do so much more if you could only get away with it. Because you really believe you're right and everyone else is a socialist who hates this country, don't you? Yes, you do. Let the world know it.
You need to let that freak flag fly, kids. You're going to shock and disgust plenty of people, sure. But in a few hundred years, you will inspire generations of fringe activists and kids who want to piss off their parents. Ted Cruz's pasty mug on thousands of masks in the streets. Can't you see it? It will be magical.
I know things are tough now. But believe in yourselves, okay?
I'm proud of you.