Remember last fall when Sen. Ted Cruz single-handedly forced the biggest, most powerful government in human history to grind to a halt?

That's the conventional wisdom of Washington Republicans, who also claim the GOP suffered a public relations catastrophe because Cruz demanded that their votes match their promises.

No matter that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were at least equally intransigent about having their way. The government shutdown was solely and only the fault of the insurgent Texas Republican senator, according to the conventional wisdom.

Wait till the debt ceiling

Now, remember how those same Washington Republicans also said Cruz picked the wrong fight because the real battle would be in February over raising the debt ceiling? Then the GOP would have real leverage and be able to accomplish some genuine conservative reforms, they said.

But then, when February rolled around, suddenly those same Washington Republicans decided the debt ceiling was not the real battle after all, so they gave Obama an open-ended debt-ceiling hike.

Now the Washington Republicans argue that the GOP must do nothing to distract the public's attention from the Obamacare debacle. Don't rock the boat and the Senate GOP will regain the majority come November.

Then in 2015, so goes the Washington Republican line, the new Republican Congress will have some real leverage over Obama and will be able to begin accomplishing those genuine conservative reforms that were previously beyond reach.

Same song, over and over?

With that preface in mind, those who seek to understand why grassroots Republicans don't believe much of anything said these days by Washington Republicans should read today's RedState post by Daniel Horowitz.

Horowitz notes that, even if the Senate goes GOP in 2014, Obama will still be in the White House in 2015. He'll still have his veto, his executive order "pen and phone." Then what?

"Republicans who lack the will or principles to fight on major issues will still use Obama’s obstructionism as the baseline for excuses not to advocate bold initiatives. Whether it’s a debt ceiling or a budget bill, they will fear brinkmanship with Obama as much as they do now," Horowitz predicts.

Think what one will of the Horowitz analysis, but given recent history, isn't the burden of proof on the Washington Republicans who, whether in power or out, haven't achieved a major conservative reform in 14 years?

On today's

Editorial: Now is not the time to cut the world's finest Army again.

Watchdog/Mark Flatten: VA purged thousands of medical test orders to "game" its backlog stats.

Watchdog/Chris Horner Profile: FOIA watchdog demands transparency from government's global warming advocates.

Columnist/Noemie Emery: Democrats cry foul when GOP uses their favorite tactic against them.

Columnist/Philip Klein: Democratic challenger attacks Walker's ethics but her own adviser was convicted of campaign law violations.

Columnist/Diana Furtchgott-Roth: Minimum wage hike supporters mischaracterize its effects.

Columnist/Gene Healy: "Libertarian paranoia" is the latest fad in politics.

Columnist/Timothy P. Carney: Ray LaHood subsidized electric bus company, then goes to work for it.

Beltway Confidential/Philip Klein: Obamacare enrollments slowed in February.

Beltway Confidential/Michael Barone: Concealed-carry laws have changed America regardless of the gun-control debate.

PennAve/Susan Ferrechio: Senate GOP vows to block Obama/Hagel defense cuts.

Legal Newsline/Kyla Asbury: $19 each for LG phone owners, their trial lawyers awarded $1.6 million

In other news

USA Today: Future of Bitcoin at stake.

The Wall Street Journal: Obama to propose massive highway repair bill.

CBS News: GM recall reaches 1.4 million vehicles.

NBC News: Embattled al Qaeda hunts for new bin Laden.

The New York Times: Obama tells Karzai he is moving ahead without him.

The Washington Post: FDA debates "three-parent babies."

Righty Playbook

National Review Online: Tea and the GOP.

The Weekly Standard: Bill Kristol's podcast on Obama's defense cuts.

Washington Free Beacon: Obama ignores Russian nuke treaty violations.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: Kirsten Powers' understanding of sin and conscience is unbiblical.

Lefty Playbook

The Progressive: New film puts "Pipelies" under the microscope.

Mother Jones: Libertarians plan to sit out the coming collapse of America in ... Chile.

The Huffington Post: CPAC confirmed speakers list includes 22 men, three women.

Bonus must-read

The American Prospect: Obamacare can't fix America's mental health crisis.

Blog Right

OZY: Kathryn Hunt is unlocked cancer's ancient past.

Blue Collar Perspective: Obama's military budget cuts are really about Obamacare.

Jammie Wearing Fools: Climate clowns try to silence Krauthammer.

Blog Left

The Raw Story: Swiss bank helped U.S. citizens cheat on their taxes.

Kevin Drum: CBO reports bafflingly huge obesity decline among 2-5 year-olds.

Fire Dog Lake: That is comforting.