We are at a historic turning point that mandates getting our fiscal house in order or suffering dramatic domestic and international consequences. The political center, which voted like Democrats in 2008, voted like Republicans in 2010—but both parties know they will suffer if progress is not made on the central issue of excessive debt.
The Republicans must resist the temptation of victory. They have not won a mandate for obstructionism or for partisan investigations of half-baked charges. They must discipline themselves to move to the center where the people live. Otherwise they risk having people believe that they are motivated only by blind anger. Blocking everything will boomerang against the Republicans, just as stupidly shutting down the government hurt them in 1995, the last time they were in the majority in the House. They must design some kind of useful grand bargain on the economy. If they do, they will establish their credibility as a governing party and not just as a political party.