Quotes of the day

President Obama is “likely” to meet with congressional leaders this week about funding the government, the White House said Monday.

“I think it’s likely that the president will meet with leaders,” Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I don’t have a time for that or a day for that. But here’s the bottom line: Congress needs to act responsibly in order to ensure that the government does not shut down.”


Whether or not Senate Republicans defeat cloture, the question will be whether Harry Reid will demand a government shutdown to force Obamacare on every American. We should not shut down the government, and I hope Reid and President Obama do not do so.

Regardless, the House should stand its ground, and if Reid kills this Continuing Resolution then the House should pass smaller CRs one at a time, starting with the military. Dare Reid to keep voting to shut down the government.

Once Senate Republicans unite, red-state Senate Democrats will be next. And that is how we win — by continuing to mobilize the American people to hold every elected official accountable.

Americans are speaking loud and clear. They don’t want to lose their health plans and be forced into Obamacare exchanges, keep their businesses small to avoid the law’s penalties, and let bureaucrats and politicians in Washington make their health care decisions. Let’s listen.


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and many of his rank and file are poised to cast votes this week that will effectively rebuke Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to filibuster a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government funded starting Oct. 1…

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is up for re-election and faces a tea party challenge, didn’t mince words about the problem with the tactics being employed by his fellow GOP senators.

“I think we’ll take up the House bill because it’s a good bill. I can’t imagine filibustering the bill that I like from the House. There will be a vote to take out the defunding of Obamacare. It will be a majority vote,” Graham said Monday on Fox News. “And I’m hoping some Democrats will side with all Republicans to keep the defunding in place, but I doubt it.”


As leaders, McConnell and Cornyn can’t make GOP senators do anything; individual lawmakers are too independent for that. But the decision does set the example of Republicans willing to risk the wrath of the most dedicated defunders to oppose what they believe is an unworkable plan. And that leaves the Cruz-Lee proposal in a difficult place.

At this point, it is completely unclear how many Republicans will support the Cruz-Lee strategy. The plan depends on support from at least 41 of the Senate’s 46 Republicans. Given the position taken by McConnell and Cornyn, plus the pointed criticism directed at the plan by other Republicans, it seems unlikely Cruz and Lee will meet that goal.

A source in the Lee camp says the defunders expected the leadership not to go along. Now, the source says, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is preparing to shape the legislation like the two-part plan House Majority Leader Eric Cantor tried, and failed, to pass in the House. “Reid has set this up just like the Cantor plan,” says the source. “It gives the GOP a cover vote to say they supported defunding Obamacare but ultimately results in funding it. Once again, they’ve found a way to avoid being accountable. House conservatives rejected this scheme when Cantor proposed it. It should make it easier to reject now that it’s Reid’s proposal.”



We disagree with Dionne’s assertion that “people don’t get hooked on bad programs,” and we don’t even accept that Social Security and Medicare are good ones. But those programs are, in contrast with ObamaCare, well designed for the objective of sustaining political support. Whereas the benefits they deliver are tangible, their destructive effects are diffuse and deferred. The burden of the payroll tax is psychologically eased by the fiction that it is a retirement investment. And even if younger workers doubt that they’ll get much out of the system, most have parents or grandparents who do.

ObamaCare, by contrast, will impose hardships on a great many Americans in order to give benefits to complete strangers.

Another difference is that whereas past social programs had bipartisan backing in Congress and broad public support, ObamaCare has never had either. Thus only Democrats are politically invested in it. Non-Democrats have little incentive to be patient if it gets off to a bad start, and Democrats have a lot to lose if it fails. That explains their emotional need to believe that it is sure to be a great success. The alternative is the Palin scenario along with, for them, political and ideological humiliation. To our mind that is the likeliest path to repeal of ObamaCare: As Ulysses Grant observed: “I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.”

Do conservatives like Cruz really believe that ObamaCare will win over the masses if it isn’t stopped now? We don’t know, but we suspect them of an element of cynicism. We aren’t the first to point out that one man who can’t lose in this confrontation is Ted Cruz, who has so raised his profile among Republicans that there is talk of a 2016 presidential campaign.


“He’s [Cruz] going to emerge somewhat bloodied, because he’s going to have critics not only from the Democratic Party, but also some from within the Republican Party,” said Craig Shirley, the conservative PR man who’s penned biographies of both Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich, the latter of whom was another polarizing conservative involved in a government shutdown. “But I think he’s going to be enhanced as a force within the Republican Party and American politics.”

If the rise of Obamacare was the catalyzing moment for the Tea Party, then a shutdown could give insurgent conservatives an upper hand in their protracted struggle against the GOP establishment for control of the Republican Party.

“Win, lose or draw, the Tea Party and the conservatives have routed the establishment wing of the party,” said Shirley, pointing to House Republican leaders’ decision to pursue legislation that defunds Obamacare after having shelved a more modest proposal.

Conservative groups like the Club for Growth and Heritage Action – while not strictly Tea Party groups, per se – will have demonstrated a commanding degree of influence over the modern Republican Party if they manage to hold enough GOP lawmakers together to prevent party leaders from reaching an agreement to avoid a shutdown.


The GOP, of course, didn’t do so well in the Gingrich-Clinton faceoff, and many Republican leaders obviously fear a repeat, where they get blamed for the president’s refusal to compromise. But for Obama, there are risks, too. One is that the government shutdown happens, and nobody cares much — which has pretty much been the story of the sequester, our last budget bugbear. Faced with a tiny percentage cut in government, most voters yawned, or cheered, or moved on oblivious. Obama’s biggest worry should be that if big government shuts down, the same thing will happen.

Another risk is that a shutdown will contribute to an already growing sense of chaos and incompetence at the top. Obama can blame Republicans all he wants, but his party controls the White House and one house of Congress — two-thirds of the elected levers of power in Washington. If he can’t run the country with the White House and the Senate … well, maybe he just can’t run the country. After Syria, he’s lost a lot of credibility abroad; if he can’t keep the government from shutting down at home, he’s likely to lose credibility here as well, no matter how much finger-pointing he does. Ultimately, if the country seems to be in chaos, it’s the president who gets blamed.

The truth is, Obama would be better off cutting a deal with the Republicans. ObamaCare implementation, scheduled for Oct. 1, is going terribly and it seems very unlikely that it will be anything other than what former supporter Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., correctly characterized as a “train wreck.” In fact, they’ve already had to implement delays and exemptions because of problems. And now there’s word that the software doesn’t work… Obama should be trying to work something out, instead of engaging in brinkmanship.


Via RCP.


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David Strom 5:21 PM on December 09, 2022