Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I do not see how this current effort to defund Obamacare can work

As much as I admire Senator Ted Cruz’s tenacity and as much as I would like to see ObamaCare defunded, I am afraid the current effort to do so is a quixotic attempt that is doomed to failure.

The continuing resolution that passed the House stands zero chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate. If a miracle did occur and somehow it passed the Senate, the President would veto it. Even firebrand Senator Rand Paul had conceded this tactic has little chance of stopping Obamacare. Worse than simply failing to stop Obamacare, the tactic may doom future chances of stopping Obamacare.

Assume the Senate version of the continuing resolution and the house version of the resolution goes to conference committee and something emerges that partially defunds Obamacare and that is what goes to the President. If a standoff occurs between the legislative and the administration and the only way a continuing resolution can pass is for President Obama to sign a bill that delays Obamacare or substantially defunds it, I suspect the President will refuse and then we will have a government shutdown.

We must accept the reality that Republicans would get the blame for the government shut down as they did in the 90’s when we had a shut down. One could argue that the shutdown would be the fault of the President because he refused to compromise and refused to approve the continuing resolution he was presented but that is now how it would be perceived. That is not how it would be reported. The media would blame the Republicans. Popular culture would blame the Republicans.

Then what happens in 2014? Instead of picking up seats in the Senate, Republicans loose seats. They may even loose seats in the House. At Senator Lamar Alexander’s picnic on Sunday, he told the story of Davy Crockett and Sam Houston, both brave Tennesseans who shared the goal of liberating Texas from Mexico and both men who should be admired. Crockett died at the Alamo; Houston won the war.

Those leading this effort to defund Obamacare may cheer the hearts of the grassroots activist but I fear they are tilting at windmills. I admire the passion of those attempting to use the continuing resolution to defund Obama care, but I doubt their wisdom. I fully share their goal but question the tactic. If the firebrands succeed in causing a government shutdown, I fear they may have caused us to lose the war.

I would welcome a compelling argument that argues the other point of view. Please explain how we can win this battle. How is this a winning strategy?

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