Cruz and Lee weather the "defund ObamaCare" storm

The case in favor of threatening an Obamacare shutdown is also more nuanced than what is being said in public. Even some of the tactic’s most prominent adherents privately say they don’t expect the fight to come down to an actual government shutdown. Instead, they see it ending in some kind of small victory, such as a delay in the individual mandate, a scenario the Kentuckian Paul hinted at on Fox News Sunday.

Proponents of a shutdown also believe they are helping to stiffen the GOP’s spine on spending more broadly, by making the debate about defunding Obamacare rather than, say, about replacing the sequester’s spending cuts with tax increases.

And they say that Obamacare’s unpopularity puts them on firm ground politically.

“If President Obama and Harry Reid force a partial temporary government shutdown, I think there are three reasons the fight would be different [from the one in 1995],” Cruz said. “Number one, the issue is fundamentally different. The American people understand Obamacare isn’t working, it’s killing jobs, forcing people to be pushed into part-time work . . . that it’s the biggest job-killer in the country. President Obama has been forced to admit the failure of Obamacare when he unilaterally granted waivers to large corporations. On the merits, if he’s willing to grant waivers to large corporations, why is President Obama threatening to shut down the federal government in order to deny those very same waivers to hard-working American families?”