Quotes of the day

The House assistant Democratic leader said on Sunday that his party will campaign on President Obama’s controversial healthcare law in 2014.

“We will be running on ObamaCare in 2014,” Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“In fact, we set it up to run on it in 2014,” he continued. “We fully expect to run on it; we expect to win on it. The American people will be the winner.”…

“We’re not going to throw out the baby with the bathwater,” Clyburn said of Republican efforts to repeal the law.


The move to defund Obamacare has been slow to gather support in the Senate. Really slow…

Now some Republicans are laying out the math. Stopping Obamacare funding would require a Republican filibuster. That would take 41 votes to uphold. There are 46 Republicans in the Senate. That means that if just six GOP lawmakers broke ranks and voted with Democrats to continue funding, the effort would fail.

Several Republicans have already voiced outright opposition to the defunding proposal. Sen. Tom Coburn called it “dishonest.” Sen. Richard Burr called it “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.” Sen. Roy Blunt said it “won’t work.” Sen. Saxby Chambliss said the same. So did Sen. Mike Johanns. Sen. Susan Collins said it’s unrealistic. Sen. John McCain said it’s not going to happen. Sen. Bob Corker called it a “silly effort.”

That’s eight who have chosen to speak out. None will vote for a Obamacare defunding measure that could lead to a shutdown. And if just those eight decline to support a defunding effort, it will fail. And remember, a total of 33 Republicans have declined to sign the Lee letter.


“In a normal political environment,” Obama said, he would have been able to call up House Speaker John Boehner and work out a fix. “We’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to quote unquote Obamacare. We did have the executive authority to do so.” There you go. Obama says the White House had the authority. Next question?

Actually, wait a minute. Let’s look at this one a little bit more. Did Democrats do anything to help create this abnormal political atmosphere regarding to the health law when they decided to pass a major new entitlement on strict party lines? Supporters of the law typically respond that Republicans wouldn’t have supported any comprehensive Democratic health care overhaul. That may well be true—and it also perhaps a sign that Democrats shouldn’t have passed it, or at least should have known that they would be responsible for making it work, perhaps in the face of ongoing GOP opposition. Relying on cooperation from a fundamentally opposed party seems like poor policy planning

Obama’s sharpest words at the press conference were reserved for Republicans who wanted to block his health law, a goal he described as the GOP’s “number one priority” and its “holy grail.” In particular, he lambasted Republicans for opposing his plan without a replacement. “There’s not even a pretense now, that they’re going to replace it with something better,” Obama said. Insofar as he means that the GOP is not broadly united around a health reform plan of its own, that is true, and I believe it represents a decades-long failure on the part of Republicans. But the lack of a consensus alternative is not exactly a strong affirmative argument in favor of the president’s health law. The GOP’s mistakes do not justify the president’s bad law.


Newt Gingrich is telling Republicans not to fear a government shutdown because the last one went so well for them. This is pure revisionist history, and they would be fools to believe him…

It’s true, as Gingrich now says, that Republicans lost only a few House seats in the next election. But it’s also true that the shutdowns ended what had been called the “Republican revolution” of the mid-1990s. Before the shutdowns, the Republicans had talked about eliminating four cabinet departments. Afterward, they quit.

The view that Republicans had been routed was so widely accepted that some of them proposed legislation to prevent a shutdown from ever taking place again. The idea was that if no budget were enacted, the government would just keep going on the previous year’s funding levels. The legislation never went anywhere because Democrats thought the possibility of a repeat performance of the 1995-96 shutdowns gave them leverage.

Gingrich himself accepted the conventional wisdom that his party had lost. That’s what associates of his told me (among others) at the time, and that’s how they recollect it now…

And that deal wasn’t the only leftward move the party made in response to Clinton’s victory in the shutdown battle. The rise of the big-government-friendly politics of George W. Bush was another, more consequential one. Gingrich is hoping that today’s partisans of smaller government have forgotten this history, or are too young to have experienced it.


BRET BAIER: Charles, Republicans would phrase it saying if the president wants to close the government, they would provide a continuing resolution that would leave the government open or defund Obamacare, and we know how you feel about this, but that’s how they would phrase it. That’s how actually, to Jessica Yellin’s (of CNN) credit, she asked the question today.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: But that is a complicated argument, it’s got three sentences in it. Obama will do the one sentence thing he did today: they want to shut the government, and that trumps three sentences every time. And we know that — you go all the way back to the Gingrich years; our argument for shutting down was a three-sentence argument and we got smacked every time.

Look, Obama is desperate to have this because as we saw in the polls, the Republicans — it’s the only way he escapes on Obamacare. What he was doing today is addressing the Democrats who are running next year scared to death over what the election is going to look like as a result of the disaffection of Obamacare. So he gave a brave front and tried to portray it as the Republicans oppose health care for those people who don’t have it.

What Republicans are opposing now is the unfair and completely incoherent implementation. The pass that Congress gets, the fact that the unions are against it, it isn’t only Republicans. And the fact that there are these arbitrary waivers and all the elements of it that everybody understands is the arbitrary and unfair. That, I think, is what they are worried about. Obama pretends it’s a matter of principle, it’s not. It’s about a train wreck coming down the track.




Rove said a better road map to weakening the health care law is instead to push votes in the Senate to delay the individual mandate of the bill by a year, as passed the House recently with a handful of Democratic votes. Rove also forcefully pushed back on Lee and fellow conservatives who are portraying the spending fight as a last stand for conservatives to kill the law. Lee was unmoved.

“The best way to delay is to defund,” Lee shot back. “We’ve got to fight on every single front we have.”

Rove preached patience and advocated a plan of steady Obamacare opposition until there’s a Republican president that can sign a repeal or defund law because anyone that thinks President Barack Obama would sign a law without Obamacare funding is “kidding themselves.”