GOP Out On A Ledge Over Government Shutdown: Heritage Action Yelling “JUMP!”


Well, summer is drawing to an end and, with it, the funding to keep The Greatest Show On Earth running . . . the moment the GOP has been waiting for, lo these many months, to prove that they still have some political potency despite the fact that they don’t seem to be able to pass their own bills, let alone force demands on anyone else’s.

The hostage of choice, for the next manufactured crisis - funding the continuing operations of the US government - appears to be Obamacare, that socialist hobgoblin threatening to destroy America by making health insurance more accessible and affordable.

Since putting the law to a vote and numerous legal challenges, including a Supreme Court case, did not kill the dreaded Obamacare, the GOP game plan for Fall 2013 is to force the President and the Democratic Senate majority to admit the error of their ways and the superior policy wisdom of conservatives by scrapping the law to prevent the nuttier splinters of the Republican Caucus from threatening to shut down the government.

I know. Not a lot of leverage but . . .  what a fool believes . . .

So now, what started as a few of the showboat-ier members of the TEA Party Caucus having some pre-recess fun, has turned into a “thing,” with Grampa DeMint—the man who took the “think” out of “think tank”—running the asylum from the ivory control towers of the Heritage Foundation.

Even hard-core conservatives are seeing the flaws in this strategy, for example, this dissection of the “Defund or Shutdown” strategy, from HotAir:

Step one: Pass an amendment withholding funding for O-Care in the continuing resolution. Step two: ???? Step three: Obama caves and agrees to defund. What’s step two here?...

. . . under what scenario does Obama cave and decide to agree to defunding (or some lesser compromise anti-ObamaCare measure)? This is his baby. ... Even if the public blamed him for a shutdown rather than the GOP, how likely is it that he’ll break and risk destroying his legacy by signing a bill that defunds the program before the exchanges go into effect? I’d say it’s absolute zero…

I’d say “absolute zero” is conservative.

And that missing “Step Two?” that’s where your basic think tank usually fills in the blank.  Think again:

. . . lawmakers say they have asked Heritage Action what its strategy would be if the government shut down.

And Heritage Action, they say, does not have an answer.

“There is no plan B, there is no ‘what if,’” said one Republican lawmaker who spoke to CQ Roll Call on the condition of anonymity. He said he had talked to a “handful” of members who met with Heritage Action and the outside conservative group had “no viable alternative” to the president caving in.

“That’s leaving us in the lurch. That’s not proper planning,” the lawmaker said, explaining that the president defunding his administration’s signature piece of legislation was not exactly a likely scenario.

But, instead of putting on its thinking cap, Heritage Action is taking its act on the road and hosting a series of red state townhall events to gin up the far-right base over its cockeyed defund Obamacare strategy and concocting its own polling results that support the notion that conservatives in Congress who do not support Defund or Shutdown are just being reactionary squishes.

One of the myriad things that don’t make sense about this approach is that, if Obamacare is such a doomed failure, right out of the gate, as so many conservatives say, and it’s so hard to kill, why not just let it play out, fall on its face, become universally loathed and easily repealed?  Why go to all this trouble and political risk?

Well, suppose it’s a rip-roaring or even modest success.  What do Republicans have to run on in the waning days of 2014?

Immigration reform revival meetings?  Overturning Roe v. Wade?  Slashing the plummeting deficit?  New sequestration ideas?

But that won’t be Jim DeMint’s or Heritage Action‘s problem, will it?  I never thought, I’d find myself agreeing with the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin, but, here we are— strange times.  Here’s what Rubin thinks of DeMint’s contributions, so far:

There is nothing approaching the conservative thought or scholarship one would expect of a think tank.

It’s pure politics, and the sort of amateur, unthinking brand that has gotten Republicans in trouble both in office and in campaigns. DeMint is hawking a series of town hall meetings, which I am sure will generate additions to the group’s e-mail list and hence to its funding base.

In sum, DeMint isn’t really trying to run a think tank. He’s running a political racket that takes the most extreme right-wing positions imaginable, decries those who won’t go along, wails when the stances they advocate fail and then uses the burning resentment it has stoked to generate headlines and donations. When do you suppose conservatives will realize they are being fleeced by this operation?

Republicans who want a Senate majority and a continuation of the House majority aren’t interested in lining DeMint’s pockets or boosting his profile. They need to demonstrate they can govern and attain conservative ends.

Well, yes, Jennifer, but that’s a thorny problem for another day.



Posted by Bette Noir on 08/14/13 at 10:14 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBqhatevwrElection '14NuttersTeabaggery

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I have to ask: how did we end up here?  Did the rethugs so believe their own huffing and puffing all through the creation of Obamacare that they didn’t realize that they would end up here, where it is basically impossible to kill it at this point?  Maybe they actually were counting on the Supreme Court to kill it, but as of now, they have zero options. 

Well, zero options other than a squid cloud of butthurt obstructionism that (1) tanks the economy, thus (2) tanking the stock market, and (3) pissing off Wall Street.  Hell, even the average American might take note of a return to recessionville, and this time be fairly clear on who’s fault that is.  With Cruz and McConnell at the controls of the crazytrain, things look, well, crazy.

And, of course, the obvious irony is that what became Obamacare and previously was Romneycare grew out of a proposal from…the Heritage Foundation. Rich!

Well, SOAS, I usually don’t agree with old Doc Gingrich, but he does have a point, here:

Said Gingrich: “I will bet you, for most of you, you go home in the next two weeks when your members of Congress are home, and you look them in the eye and you say, ‘What is your positive replacement for Obamacare?’ They will have zero answer.”

He added: “We are caught up right now in a culture, and you see it every single day, where as long as we are negative and as long as we are vicious and as long as we can tear down our opponent, we don’t have to learn anything. We have to do the homework.”

Who exactly built that culture, Prof. Gingrich?

Well, Xecky—he’s spot-on because he would know! It’s fun to see if he’ll contribute to talking them down from the government shut-down ledge:

“But we learned it from watching YOU!”

Ha, true. But they didn’t seem to have watched the next part where Gingrich was drummed out.

He’s just crazy enogh to do it!

Comment by Sirius Lunacy on 08/15/13 at 01:59 PM

@Sir Lunacy   Nice one!

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