Via the Daily Caller. No surprise that he feels this way, but I believe his comments here are the first time he’s pooh-poohed a shutdown publicly. Which, in itself, tells you what a terrible idea the GOP leadership thinks it is: McConnell’s desperate to pander to tea partiers in hopes of avoiding a serious primary challenge in Kentucky next year but the thought of a shutdown is simply a bridge too far, even though he’s getting killed for it on sites like Red State. In fact, John Cornyn, McConnell’s deputy in the Senate leadership and another guy who’s terrified of a Cruz-like primary challenger, allegedly did decide to go all the way on pandermonium and signed Mike Lee’s letter committing to a filibuster to defund O-Care — only to be pressured by McConnell into removing his name before it went public. Boehner and Cantor are on the same page, which is why Ted Cruz is begging grassroots righties to phone their congressman and senator to demand defunding. If McConnell’s willing to say something like this on camera, he can’t be feeling too much heat.
Or is he? Key data from a poll commissioned by the Heritage Foundation’s lobbying arm:
The poll of likely voters in 10 Republican-leaning congressional districts shows that 28 percent of those polled would blame the GOP, 22 percent would blame Obama, 19 percent would blame congressional Democrats, 5 percent would blame the tea party and 17 percent would spread the blame around. About 60 percent said they would support a “slowdown” in non-essential services in response to carefully-worded question that does not include the word “shutdown.”
“There’s a recognition that the president would be willing to force a budget showdown … in order to keep Obamacare in full force,” said Heritage Action pollster Jon Lerner. “There’s no doubt that some voters would blame Republicans for a government shutdown. There’s also no doubt some voters would blame President Obama’s uncompromising view.”
A majority of those polled said they’d be less likely to support the reelection efforts of House members who voted to continue Obamacare funding while 48 percent said they’d be more likely to support a member who did “everything” they could to slow down implementation of the law.
Interesting, but I’d rather see a poll of states where the GOP is aiming to pick up Senate seats. Holding the House is easy — although maybe not as easy as once thought. Retaking the Senate is where the action is. Is a shutdown over ObamaCare a net winner in 2014 battlegrounds like Maine, Michigan, and Iowa?
By the way, when McConnell says that a shutdown won’t stop O-Care from being funded, he doesn’t mean that Obama will inevitably win the standoff (although he surely believes that too). He means it literally — according to a CRS study commissioned by Tom Coburn, ObamaCare will likely continue to be funded even if other parts of the government go dark because some of its provisions have permanent appropriations and some can be bankrolled by O moving other federal money around. He’s arguing that this is futile from the word go, not that it’ll be futile once the GOP inevitably caves after a shutdown.