Democrats might be gloating about the decision by John Boehner and House Republicans to back off from the debt-ceiling fight, but Doyle McManus thinks they should be a little worried, too. Boehner, after all, engineered an "unexpectedly impressive" retreat: His lieutenants fell in line and the Tea Party contingent zipped its lips. All of which suggests that Republicans in Congress are finally starting to wise up and choose their battles more carefully, writes McManus in the Los Angeles Times.
"Astonishingly, for perhaps the first time since they won the majority in 2010, Boehner's House Republicans were seized by a sudden fit of pragmatism," writes McManus. The speaker recognized that the public wasn't behind the GOP in this showdown and that he would expend serious political capital in a hopeless battle. Democrats have a lot in their favor right now, "but they're already facing a smarter Republican Party than the one they defeated in November—a GOP smart enough to stage a tactical retreat and avoid a losing fight." Read the full column here. Or read about Boehner's recent comments on "smart fights" here.