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Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 in Featured, Politics | 5 comments

Boehner close to defining moment: will risk government shutdown over Obamacare


It sounds as if House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican Party are within centimers of a move that will forever define it in the eyes of those who are not far right conservatives, Rush Limbaugh fans, members of the Tea Party, or writers for conservative weblogs: according to Talking Points Memo Boehner may in effect go along with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and set things in motion for a Republican engineered government shut down over Obamacare.

In what would be a dramatic change of course, House Republican leaders are considering a strategy of risking a government shutdown at the end of this month if Obamacare isn’t defunded.

In the weekly conference meeting Wednesday morning, GOP leaders intend to propose a continuing resolution to keep the federal funded beyond Sept. 30 but strip out funding for Obamacare. The move was first reported by the conservative National Review.

Senior Republicans know the strategy is a nonstarter in the Democratic-led Senate, and for months have wanted to avoid a shutdown confrontation over Obamacare. The latest move is a tacit admission from leaders that they have, for the moment at least, been defeated by conservatives who are eager to eliminate the health care law at all costs. When the House bill fails in the Senate, as it is certain to do, House GOP leaders would then try to pass a “clean” continuing resolution that funds the government but leaves Obamacare alone. The prospects of a clean stopgap bill winning over most House Republicans are also remote.

Republican politics is increasingly about pleasing the base, politicians digging in their claws to hold onto their jobs, and power politics — all poorly disguised within a transparent cocoon of plausible deniability called conservativism that can’t mask the real motives.

“No decisions have been made, or will be made, until House Republican Members meet and talk tomorrow,” said House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) spokesman Michael Steel.

Which means a finger will be held in the wind to see how strong the wind is and whether it’s wise to try and walk against it…

Part of the strategy is to shift the legislative burden to Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT), who have been deriding House Republican leaders as weak on Obamacare, to their deep frustration.

The Democrats say it has no chance in the Senate and Obama has vowed to threaten such a bill.

The proposal, if House Republicans decide to run with it, would spur a standoff that significantly raises the prospects of a shutdown at the end of the month. If the bill fails in the Senate, anti-Obamacare conservatives aren’t likely to let up and embrace a “clean” continuing resolution; they’ll demand that House Republicans hold out until Democrats cave.

How will it impact average Americans if the government is shut down? To House GOpers in safe districts, who cares? The importance is to avoid being primaried back home, and try to make Barack Obama and the Dems get down on their knees, defund Obamacare — and then have that celebration of high fives, a victory lap, and a nice gloat from Rush Limbaugh.

But here’s betting that if this happens, the GOP will regret it in the future.

Here’s betting for a backlash that will not add to the GOP coalition, even if a shutdown lasts for only a few days. A shutdown will only please the choir.

It will be a rebranding to that large part of the newer generation that isn’t composed of far-right conservatives, Rush Limbaugh fans, andon Tea Partiers.

The Politico:

House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are playing the last cards in their hand — and they’re most likely losers.

The House Republican leadership’s decision to try to defund Obamacare this week in their government funding bill, and their promise to wage a a no-holds-barred fight to delay the health care law as part of the debt ceiling fight, is a double-barreled strategy that could set Boehner (R-Ohio), Cantor (R-Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the House Republican Conference up for two big defeats.

Nearly everyone in Washington — except a group of conservative Republicans and their allies — admits that the Senate isn’t going to vote to defund the Affordable Care Act. President Barack Obama showed his own determination on Monday not to give in, speaking just minutes after a shooting rampage in Washington to remind the nation he’s not interested in negotiating over the debt ceiling.

Boehner and his top lieutenants have tried managing expectations about what’s achievable in a divided Washington, with Republicans running the House and Democrats holding the Senate and White House. But those efforts aren’t swaying the rank-and-file.

“Republicans control the House. Conservatives control the House,” said Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.). “Our job is to reflect the people who sent us here. That means sending a good, conservative bill out of this House. We’ll worry about the Senate after the Senate actually does something.”

Now, House Republicans are now staking out two positions where they’re almost sure to come out on the losing end.

But Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy may have no other option.

The question will be whether public backlash against the GOP is intense and whether the Democrats and an increasingly weakened President Barack Obama who is being called over his head now by Republicans and Democrats will be enough to squelch a shutdown before it does real damage.

And then it’s on to the same game with the raising of the debt limit….this time holding America’s economy as hostage…

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  • SteveK

    I posted this in another thread but think that it’s more appropriate here.

    If the politicians bought by the 1%er’s keep it up… Keep pushing the time honored limits that have kept the United States alive and well, we will go down the same road as the British Empire and the C.C.C.P.

    The rest of the world is waiting with bated breath and an almost hidden smile knowing that it won’t be long… Not long at all.

    The petty little back and forth that has kept us at each other’s throats is becoming less and less important when you step back and look at the huge hole in the side of our ship of state.

    What’s the matter with these Republican Politicians… And more to the point what’s the matter with the ‘average Americans’ who seem to believe that what the Republicans are doing is right?

  • JSpencer

    Maybe the GOP has to go all the way down to rock bottom before they learn. Too bad they have to make so many Americans miserable while they’re doing it.

    Steve, I’m not an optimist by nature but I think the “average Americans” you mention will eventually catch on – a process that will speed up when enough pain (attention focus) is being felt.

  • epiphyte

    I’m sorry to be so cynical, but the average american, or the average congressman, for that matter, is like a yeast cell in a beer carboy the day before the alcohol concentration gets high enough to kill it, along with everything else. Dumb, Fat and Happy.


    If they go ahead and do it then the interesting dynamic will be to see if it actually hurts the 1%. If it does the ones who aren’t true believers just might quit funding the GOP until they perceive that the balance of power in the party has shifted back to their favor. Would the Chamber of Commerce continue to push for GOP candidates if the debt ceiling showdown hurts a significant number of their members, especially if its the ones that provide the majority of their funding? What about the financial sector? Which would be viewed as being most damaging to their interests, the regulations pushed by Democrats or the chaos induced by these kinds of events that almost never bode well for the markets? What about government contractors that could be hard hit by a government shutdown? The elderly who could be affected in a number of ways if the shutdown has just the wrong timing and length?

    It’s a stupid gamble, but fanatics generally lose rationality eventually.

  • epiphyte

    Jim – It’s not the 1% that dictate what politicians do; it’s the 0.00001%. Of the people, by the people, for the people. Not.

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