What happened in Congress with the government shutdown this month? Who won and who lost? Amidst all the noise from the punditry, it can be hard to tell. I know what the left-wing media reports: “Crazy tea party Republicans defeated.” And I know what some of the conservative groups that I love and respect believe: “Irresponsible, weak RINOs caved, and fiscal conservatives lost.” But what really happened? My read is that the Republicans engaged in a successful standoff with the big-spending Democrats in control of the Senate and the White House. Thanks to a small faction of dedicated conservatives, Republicans are poised for massive gains in 2014—if they don’t blow it. It’s important that we remember that despite their control of only the House, Republicans have managed to drive spending down in D.C. In real, measurable terms, government spending has been falling, in part because of sequestration. Sequestration has been preserved through this fight and will continue to keep spending down, unless the Republicans choose to negotiate it away for better and longer-term cuts. Score one for the fiscal conservatives. While fast-talking, self-assured teleconomists paraded across our screens advising us that the markets were on the verge of a meltdown, the markets did no such thing; instead they rallied. Much as we saw during the run up to the sequester cuts, once again no one believed the crazy predictions of the president and Democrats in Congress. Despite the warnings of the media that those crazy tea party Republicans were going to destroy our country, no such thing happened. Score another one for the citizens. Read the rest on American Spectator.