Senator Lee Threatens to Huff and Puff, etc etc

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Sen. Mike Lee (R-Planet Xanax), consummate Washington insider playing the role of Grassroots Greg has just come up with his most delusional idea, yet, for getting attention: close down the government if President Obama refuses to defund his own signature health reform law. Snap!

This is like a kid who gets sent to timeout for throwing a tantrum and decides to throw a bigger tantrum to protest.  Smart kids don’t do it . . .

And although Sen. Lee is, by all accounts, a pretty smart kid, his base? not so much.  A vast majority of them will be quite gratified to watch their TEA Party senator make trouble for Obama any way he can—the more theatrical, the better.

Politicians, unlike most of the rest of the species, don’t mind making total asses of themselves if they believe that’ll get them re-elected but I think Sen. Lee, and his party may be overestimating their banged up party’s ability to keep bouncing back from self-inflicted injuries.

Think about it . . . Lee and others in the GOP know that every minute that ticks by brings us closer to full implementation of Obamacare.  And, every day that goes by brings more good news about ACA’s benefits to the economy, consumers and health care providers.  If something doesn’t happen quick to derail Obamacare, well, that train is bound for glory.  Leaving conservatives with a lot of #GOPFAIL on their faces.

So.  The scenario that Mike Lee, Ted Cruz et al. are envisioning is that the government runs out of bill paying funds in the Fall and their opening gambit is: “defund Obamacare or we stop paying the bills.”  Evidently these wizards believe in their own magic.  Could they actually believe that after all of the years that America has been waiting for meaningful health care reform, after all of the horror stories of personal financial ruin due to medical costs run amok, after all of the work that went into designing and implementing ACA, not to mention successfully defending it before SCOTUS, and all of the good that it has already done and promises to do for countless American families and the economy, that Democrats and Obama are going to roll over and say OK, you got us there, we’ll just scuttle health care reform to keep Republicans happy?

I suppose that if one lives in the echo-chamber one might start to believe that this ultimatum is a great idea that Americans will just love and reward because, in the echo chamber, most Americans absolutely hate Obamacare. 

Sean Hannity, for instance welcomed Sen. Lee on to his program to gush melodramatically:

This is an interesting moment - I think - and a test for the Republican Party. Are they going to be the conservative alternative? How many members of the House and Senate ran on repealing Obamacare? Now they can vote symbolically or they can take this stand, is what you’re telling them to do. I’m supporting you. I think they ought to just put their foot down, stand on principal and stop calculating what political impact is going to be felt here.  Fund the rest of the government, but just defund Obamacare. And then if the Democrats want to shut down the government, then let them shut it down.

A staggeringly simple-minded statement even for Hannity.

First of all, Sean, if Democrats reject Lee’s threat they’ll be shutting down nothing—the government, Obamacare, nothing.  They’ll be slapping at a particularly pesky gnat.

Lee knows he does not have, and never will, the number of votes in the Senate to kill Obamacare by defunding it. He has 14 co-signers to his letter and would need about 40 more to sign on.  Lee hasn’t proposed legislation, he’s delivered a particularly gaudy stage prop letter and Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell is already harrumphing his displeasure with any more government shutdown kabuki in the Senate:

I think our main goal going into the year-end discussions is to not walk away from the bipartisan agreement we made two years ago to reduce spending. That unfortunately had to be done by the sequester, but the sequester is the law,” McConnell said. “My view is that we should do what we promised two years ago and that will be my goal going into the final discussions.

And while “dozens” of Republicans in the House (and believe me, in the House, that’s not a lot) might back Lee up, for talking points, that’s about all they’ll do. The House of Representatives has been happy to while away the empty hours staging Obamacare repeal votes, but, in all this time, they’ve never done anything serious about it.

And then there’s Erick Erickson’s reliably hilarious advice on the matter:

In other words, it appears John Boehner recognizes this is a winning position and the Senate leadership is going wobbly. Americans, you know what to do. Call now and tell your Senator to support Mike Lee’s effort to defund Obamacare. Make them fear you. Get Mitch McConnell on record that he will support and fight to defund Obamacare.

But what could Republicans possibly hope to gain by taking the debt hostage . . . again?  Well, history tells us that they get to either back down and look like impotent weenies or they get to play tough guys, for a few minutes, before backing down and looking like impotent weenies.  Neither one spells electoral success but they chose it, and I’ll take it, because something this wrong-headed just might provide the updraft for a big Democratic resurgence in 2014.

*******************UPDATE***********************

This hostage-taking idea could disappear sooner, rather than later.  TPM reports:

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), a member of GOP leadership, told MSNBC Wednesday morning that he would oppose an effort to take the debt ceiling hostage to the conservative effort to defund Obamacare.

Posted by Bette Noir on 07/24/13 at 09:30 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBarack ObamaElection '14Health CareNuttersTeabaggery

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You’re definitely on to something with regard to the “echo chamber effect”.  Only someone who so carefully and completely huffs teaidiot farts as their daily breath would think another round of debt hostage-taking will play well with most people, especially when stories such as how the insurance exchanges cut rates for the youngs by 50% in NY are getting some play these days. 

I grew up around people who were basically like Mike Lee.  They live in an extremely well-constructed bubble and have no doubts about the righteousness of their cause and world POV.  The only way to deal with them is to banish them to electoral defeat, and keep them there*. 

* Lee being Mormon and from Utah makes that an extra tall order, but the rest of with teahadi caucus isn’t so well entrenched as Lee is.  Process with what needs to be done, America!

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