I have to admit that, with all the ferocity that an anonymous armchair warrior can muster, I like the idea of a House budget defunding ObamaCare while keeping everything else in the government funded. The Senate, of course, won’t go along with that, and then there’ll be a stalemate. The easy money is that the House Republicans will blink before the Democrat Senators do. But if House Republicans don’t blink, then Obama has promised to veto any spending bill defunding ObamaCare, effectively “shutting down” the government. (It won’t really be shut down, of course. Essential things will continue to operate, but inessential things will stop.)
Conservatives who oppose the defunding tactic have two concerns: (a) that the economy will collapse; and (b) that the Republicans will take the blame.
Regarding (a), that was the same concerned voiced about the sequester. For the most part, Americans didn’t even notice — although I am desperately sorry that the Blue Angels no longer fly and that Fleet Week has been canceled. For many years, thanks to the Navy League, an organization I cannot recommend highly enough, Fleet Week has been my favorite time of the year. I know that our military got screwed when it came to pay raises, and I’m also very sorry about that, but at least a “shut down” this time around won’t shut down the military. It’s also entirely possible that, if the government shuts down, Americans may discover that those who have been saying that we don’t need bloated government were right all along. (Or of course, we may find that we were wrong all along!)
As for (b), yes, the media will spin any shut down so that Republicans take all the blame if it goes badly. That’s why Republicans need to strike preemptively. Ted Cruz, smart lawyer that he is, figured out that Republican spin has to start early and go out often. I like this:
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 19, 2013
What do you think? Is the Tea Party crowd riding for a disastrous fall if it pushes the House to defund ObamaCare? Or is this the kind of action that Republicans need to take if they actually want to distinguish themselves from Progressives?
One could argue that, now that ObamaCare has Supreme Court clearance, the law is the law, and the House must fund it. But the constitutionally granted power of the purse is always going to trump everything else. In addition, while the law may be the law, ObamaCare was passed using chicanery of the worst kind, meaning that it was corrupted from the beginning. Add to that the fact that the majority of Americans have consistently opposed it, and the House’s refusal to fund it really can be see as vox populi.