My friend Gene Wisdom disagreed with my view and commented that he thinks the House battle, while doomed to failure, showed courage and commitment to principle and did not distract from election chances in 2014. The 2014 elections are still sometime away and things can change in that period of time, but I think it is undeniable that the shutdown hurt the Republican "brand." (I normally resist using trendy words like "brand" but it conveys the message.)
If Obamacare is still viewed as a disaster by 2014, and there are not more government shut downs, then perhaps Republicans can recover and win some Senate seats and maintain a House majority. Time will tell, but as of now, Republicans are liked even less than in the recent past. To stand any chance of doing well in 2014 we have to recover some lost ground. Unless Republicans can improve their standing with the American people, we may lose Senate seats and may even lose control of the House.
|Sept. 2013 poll|
To buy the GOP establishment’s "repeal by winning elections" alternative, you also have to believe that Republicans are going to repeal a vast entitlement that has, by then, been on the books, with millions of Americans drawing subsidies, for at least four, and more likely six or more, years.He says the House strategy of repealing ObamaCare by forcing a government shut down was a "hail Mary pass," but says the Republican strategy of repeal by winning elections is not even a hail Mary pass but is, "the art of the impossible."
So, where do we go from here? For one thing, we need to stop demonizing those who agree on goals but disagree on strategy. Those who wanted to attempt to defeat ObamaCare by closing down the government and forcing a defunding or delay as the cost of reopening the government should not be denounced as crazies and terrorist and anarchist, and those who want to repeal and replace ObamaCare by winning elections should not be demonized as traitors, RINO's and sell-outs. Good and reasonable people can disagree on tactics and strategy. We must unite and fight to elect Republicans, repeal Obamacare and cut government spending. Even a "liberal" Republican is more conservative than a "conservative" Democrat. A vote for any Republican is still a vote for a Republican majority and a Republican President of the Senate, and Republican Chairmen of committees. Those who are looking for ideological purity are shooting themselves in the foot.
The second thing we have to realize is that we may lose. ObamaCare may be here to stay. Along with ObamaCare other changes may occur. High unemployment and lessened economic growth, less rugged individualism and less opportunity for advancement, a sluggish economy and culture that does not welcome innovation and a burdensome bureaucracy that inhibits economic growth and innovation may be the new normal and our country may become a nation that more closely resemble European nations than the America of the past. Personally, living in a society that resembled England or France would not be that terrible. This passage from Charles Murray's Coming Apart, I think, says it best:
Europe has proved that countries with enfeebled family, vocation, community and faith can still be pleasant places to live. I am delighted when I get a chance to go to Stockholm or Paris. When I get there, the people don't seem to groaning under the yoke of an oppressive system. On the contrary, there's a lot to like about day-to-day life in the advanced welfare states of western Europe. They are great places to visit. But the view of life that has taken root in those same countries is problematic. It seems to go something like this: The purpose of life to to while away the time between birth and death as pleasantly as possible, and the purpose of government is to make it as easy as possible to while away the time as pleasantly as possible- the European Syndrome.I don't want it to happen. Something valuable would be lost for ever if American continues on the path we are taking. The trajectory we are on did not start with the election of Barack Obama. It has been happening for a long time. A change has been occurring in the American character. It is not just all politics and the last election. As institutions no longer work, the family structure weakens, and values decline, people are more inclined to look to government as the solution to all their problems and for their sense of identity. A guaranteed income and six weeks paid vacation becomes more important than the opportunity to achieve enormous success. Mediocrity and equality become more valued than excellence. I fear Americans no longer wants to be exceptional. We want to be average. We want to be like other modern industrialized Western nations.
I don't want the American example of free markets, individual liberty, and self-sufficiency to disappear, but I am afraid it is happening. America is becoming less exceptional day by day. We are not there yet however, and maybe we can reverse the trend and reclaim the America we knew. I am not ready to give up the fight but the future is not guaranteed.