The odds of a government shutdown this autumn are increasing, with the White House and congressional leaders both digging in…

Twelve Republican senators — including likely 2016 presidential candidates Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — have said they will not sign off on any spending bill that includes funding for the president’s signature health care law. And as of Friday, at least 69 House Republicans had signed on to a yet-to-be-sent letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) demanding that a continuing resolution defund ObamaCare in its entirety…

Influential conservative advocacy groups, including the Club for Growth and Heritage Action, have circulated letters encouraging leadership to oppose any law that funds the president’s health care plan. The implied threat is that any lawmaker who backs a bill leaving ObamaCare in place is likely to face a well-financed primary threat.

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“If this issue isn’t important enough for us to draw a line in the sand on, what issue is?” [Marco Rubio] said on the Senate floor Thursday…

“Conservatives are going to have to swallow a bitter pill,” [Republican strategist Ford] O’Connell said.

“We’ve seen this play before — the government gets shut down and the GOP is seen as the villain. That’s not good with 2014 on the horizon.

“Just imagine you’re Mitch McConnell,” he added. “You’re really going to have to walk a tightrope on this.”

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Coburn’s case against the proposal is simple: Republicans, having failed to win control of the White House and Senate in 2012, do not have the votes to cut off Obamacare funding. Given that, he sees the defunding proposal as not just wrongheaded but also an effort to mislead conservatives across the country who long to see Republicans stop Obamacare. “The worst thing is being dishonest with your base about what you can accomplish, ginning everybody up and then creating disappointment,” Coburn said. “It’s a terribly dangerous and not successful strategy.”

“You’re going to set an expectation among the conservatives in our party that we can achieve something that we’re not able to achieve,” Coburn continued. “It’s not an achievable strategy. It’s creating the false impression that you can do something when you can’t. And it’s dishonest.”

Even though Republicans don’t have the votes to defund Obamacare, they do have the power, if they choose, to bring the government to a halt. Coburn sees that as a disastrous possible result of the plan. “You’re not going to stop the funding, but what you will do is shut down the government,” he said. “Among that group of senators that has been considering this, I was the only one who was here for that,” a reference to the government shutdowns of 1995 and 1996, when Coburn was a member of the House. “The president is never going to sign a bill defunding Obamacare. Do you think he’s going to cave?”

“The strategy that has been laid out is a good way for Republicans to lose the House.”

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It is important to note that the same Republican consultants who oppose a strategy of refusing to defund Obamacare are the very same Republican consultants who worked for years to sell the American public President Romney and worked tireless for the present Senate Republican Majority.

Oh . . . wait…

It cannot be emphasized enough. The American public is weary of another partisan fight over Obamacare. They are. But the American public is also weary of Obamacare and does not like the law. What we know for sure is that the American public loves a winner.

These Republican consultants do not know how to win. Perhaps we should set our minds to winning this fight instead of listening to the consultants who told us steel tariffs in Pennsylvania, No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, TARP, the General Motors bailout, and President Romney were the way to build a Republican Majority.

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The public, however, would almost certainly blame Republicans, for five reasons.

First, Republicans are less popular than the Democrats and thus all else equal will lose partisan finger-pointing contests. Second, the executive has natural advantages over a group of legislators in a crisis atmosphere. Third, people will be naturally inclined to assume that the more anti-government party must be responsible. Fourth, some Republicans will say that government shutdowns or defaults are just what the country needs, and those quotes will affect the image of all Republicans. And fifth, the news media will surely side with the Democrats…

Bringing the federal government to a standstill would confirm the Democrats’ caricatures that conservatives are reflexively hostile to all government. And Republicans would be doing it without proposing a plausible replacement for Obamacare. So Democrats would be able to say that Republicans were crippling the government and credit markets in order to take health insurance away from 30 million people.

While Democrats would stay unified, Republicans would fracture as their standing in the polls dropped and negative news coverage continued. When they inevitably lost the fight, they would be more divided, unpopular and demoralized than before, and the cause of repealing Obamacare would look more like the hobbyhorse of incompetent fanatics.

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Over the course of several emails over the past few days with Breitbart News, Stewart and other McConnell aides argued the Minority Leader opposes Obamacare but would not answer when asked multiple times whether he would promise to vote against any government funding mechanism that includes paying for Obamacare’s implementation.

Lee has circulated a letter to Senate Republicans pushing for the defunding of Obamacare in the next CR, which McConnell has not signed. Chris Chocola, the president of the GOP-primary powerhouse Club for Growth, has called on McConnell to sign the Lee letter.

“If Senator McConnell is committed to defunding ObamaCare, then he should sign the Lee letter and promise not to support a continuing resolution or any budget that funds ObamaCare,” Chocola said in a statement. “We are disappointed by rumors that Senate Republican leadership is pressuring Senators not to sign Lee’s letter or to remove their names – they should instead encourage others to sign on.”

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Karl Rove’s Crossroads group commissioned a poll by North Star Opinion Research. The poll found most Americans do not want the GOP to block “health care reform.” That’s right, Crossroads repeatedly called Obamacare “the healthcare reform law” and was shocked to find people oppose stopping reform. Go figure.

But that poll has been circulated to Republican leaders and they have soiled themselves over it. That is why Mitch McConnell will not support Mike Lee’s strategy to draw a line in the sand against funding Obamacare. That is why John Cornyn withdrew his name from Mike Lee’s letter. That is why Richard Burr of North Carolina calls defunding Obamacare “stupid.”

These men are about power, not principle. They’ve chosen to let polls lead them instead of leading people…

We have seen this before. The GOP leadership will cave and dazzle the base with shiny objects. They will then send out fundraising letters in courier type telling you to stand with them and send them money if you want Obamacare defunded.

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Self-identified conservatives and Republicans roundly reject any efforts to fund Obamacare, opposing it 84 percent to 8 percent and 86 percent to 7 percent respectively. Independents oppose any congressional efforts to fund Obamacare 71 percent to 21 percent while moderates oppose such an action 62 percent to 30 percent.

Even Democrats oppose congressional efforts to fund Obamacare outside the margin of error, 48 percent to 44 percent.

A total of 53 percent of likely voters polled answered in the affirmative when asked this question: “Would you vote to replace your member of Congress if he/she voted against [Obamacare], then to fund it?” Just 33 percent said no.

69 percent of self-identified conservatives responded yes, and only 21 percent said they would not.

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“I understand that there are some in the Washington establishment . . . who aren’t happy with me over this. And, in this instance, I’m going to take that as a compliment, as an indication that I’m doing something right.”

“Maybe we can’t repeal [Obamacare] right now, but we can delay its funding. And if we can delay it, we can stop its consequences, at least for now.” The case for doing that has never been stronger, says Lee, because of the president’s enforcement decision. “That’s not fair, it’s not right, and we shouldn’t fund that effort.”

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Via the Daily Caller.

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