How Did Republicans Squander Such a Good Hand?

The face of GOP persuasion. |||A CNN/ORC International poll released this morning (and conducted Sept. 27-29) neatly sums up how the tactics of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the insurgent wing of the Grand Old Party is alienating voters otherwise sympathetic toward anti-Democratic Party policy ideas. To wit:

* 57 percent say they do not like Obamacare, but

* Six in 10 say they don't want the government to be shut down, and

* 68 percent say a government shutdown would be a bad thing.

Add to those findings an even bigger natural advantage for the Republicans in negotiations this week, which is:

* 61 percent of Americans say that any debt ceiling hike should come with spending cuts.

Ad, Rep. |||These conclusions are not particularly new. A Reason-Rupe poll from three weeks ago found that 70 percent of Americans, including 59 percent of Democrats, opposed raising the debt ceiling.

And yet the Republican conversation and de facto approach throughout the summer and all the way until about 33 hours ago has been to use the Fiscal Year deadline to try to defund Obamacare, even though anyone with a set of functioning eyeballs could tell you that you cannot undo a major law when the only majority you control is in the House of Representatives.

It would be perfectly plausible to attach a one-year delay in Obamacare implementation to the latest continuing resolution funding the federal government if, in fact, you had been making that particular case to the public for the past several months, and perhaps submitted a bill to that effect earlier than two days before the lights went out. But Republicans didn't do that.

Instead they have been tirelessly using unpopular and unpersuasive means to an unworkable end. And now, unsurprisingly, those polls that were showing the public dividing blame for a shutdown almost equally between the two major parties are now starting to break against the GOP.

Public-opinion fundamentals showed that Republicans had a strong hand in attaching spending cuts to the debt ceiling, passing a continuing resolution that keeps federal spending flat, and making modest reforms to a health care law likely to become even less popular upon rollout. Will a government shutdown, and everything that led to it, make those policy wins more likely or less? As with Bill Maher's premature victory lap for the Jerry Brown miracle in California, I will be pleasantly surprised if the ideological finger-crossing turns into measurable reality, and will be happy to eat crow if it does. But if InTrade was still in business, I wouldn't bet on it.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Careful Matt. If you so much as suggest that Team Red's retarded flagellations of late aren't THE BEST AND ONLY WAY TO DEFEAT OBAMACARE I TELL YOU WHAT, the H&R commentariat will tar and feather you as an devious big-government quisling. Look what happened to poor Peter.

  • ||

    Yeah. John = the entire Reason commentariat.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It's more than John. There were a whole bunch of HitnRunpublicans piling on Suderman for daring to suggest that Team Red has no strategy or leadership on this issue. The air in that thread was thick with do-somethingism.

  • robc||

    It isnt do-somethingism.

    Its dotherightthingism.

    They were elected to kill the ACA. They need to do their fucking job.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Great. So explain to me how this move is the final nail in ObamaCare's coffin, and doesn't just set up Team Red to lose the House in 2014.

  • robc||

    If they kill ObamaCare, who cares if they hold the House in 2014?

    Defunding isnt enough, but its a good start. And there is no way defunding the ACA will cost them the House in 2014.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Except if this stunt costs Team Red control of both houses of Congress in 2014, there will be nothing to stop Team Blue from imposing Obamacare 2: The Mandating on America.

    And this will cost them the House. People are no longer talking about how shitty Obamacare is. They're talking about what happens to their ponies when the government shuts down.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    And this will cost them the House. People are no longer talking about how shitty Obamacare is. They're talking about what happens to their ponies when the government shuts down.

    Again, when did it become such a libertarian concern that the GOP retain the House by pandering to constituents that want their free ponies? How does that "strategy" promote a libertarian cause?

  • RightNut||

    Again, when did it become such a libertarian concern that the GOP retain the House by pandering to constituents that want their free ponies?

    I'm wondering that same exact thing myself. If anything its usually libertarians urging Republicans to die on their swords.

  • Killazontherun||

    Again, when did it become such a libertarian concern that the GOP retain the House by pandering to constituents that want their free ponies?

    Exactly. The real Team Red stooge here is Hugh Akston whose been nothing but a cry baby about the possibility the GOP might become even more unpopular if they did the right thing than they are now.

  • XM||

    Libertarians will never achieve any meaningful power (harsh, but true), so they need to piggy back on one of the major two parties to become more libertarian. And most of their stars are in the GOP camp.

    Face it, the libertarians need the GOP to thrive AND turn libertarian. Otherwise, they can't even wage proxy wars.

    The left already thinks the government hating anarchists are taking over the GOP. YOU might be happy if the GOP came up with a detailed plan on cutting medicare by 20% or ending all farm subsidies, but that will almost certain shift all the momentum to the other side.

    In a vacuum, Americans hate big government, waste, and raising debt ceilings. But they ain't keen on actual measures that make that happen. I know most you are smart enough to see this.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    And this will cost them the House.

    I'll go $500 that it won't.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And this will cost them the House.

    Very doubtful.

    And if the government reopens before election day 2014 the public consciousness will have moved onto another issue and forgotten all about the shutdown.

  • Cytotoxic||

    And this will cost them the House.

    No it won't.

  • Bryan C||

    Well, it won't cost them the House. But if it did, I really wouldn't care very much. Politicians and parties are disposable tools. If I have to break some tools to get a job done, then that's what I'll do. I have lots of others.

  • Mike M.||

    Right, because being reminded every other day that "hurr durr, those stupid republicans can't repeal Obamacare" is such deep and insightful analysis.

    By the way, I have yet to hear what the cosmotarian dipshit brilliant alternative strategy for repealing Obamacare is.

  • Matt Welch||

    I think it has something do with winning the Senate.

  • robc||

    YOU ONLY NEED ONE FUCKING HOUSE.

    See below.

    Repeat after me: YOU ONLY NEED ONE FUCKING HOUSE.

  • Matt Welch||

    To repeal Obamacare? No, you'll need more than one fucking house. And it is my contention that the one-fucking-house strategy of defunding -- which, we should be clear, the one fucking house has already abandoned in this case -- would prevent the GOP from ever winning the second fucking house back.

    Again, I'd be delighted to be proven wrong.

  • waffles||

    Well when you put it that fucking way I'm starting to get the fucking point.

  • robc||

    You can repeal with only one fucking house.

    Eventually the 2nd house wants to pass something.

    And if you can hold your house, you can defund or delay forever, which is effectively the same as repealing.

    Unless you think something other than the ACA led to the GOP taking the House in 2010, Im not sure how fighting the ACA as much as they can leads to losing the House. Of failing to take the Senate.

  • Matt Welch||

    Here's how -- Shutting the government down over the principle of defunding Obamacare is heavily unpopular now, and unlikely to become more popular during the actual shutdown. Since you need popularity to win more than just the 2010 by-elections, these poll numbers matter. In fact, they have probably mattered enough already to remove the defunding from negotiations.

  • robc||

    But they arent. The Dems are shutting the government down over the principle of funding Obamacare. The GOP even offered a compromise, as you keep pointing out, that takes defunding off the table and merely delays it a year.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Yeah. And Reason seems to have joined the the MSM in insisting that the Tea Party Republicans are solely responsible for the shutdown.

    This is absurd. Democrats are even more obstinate about rolling out ObamaCare on their terms -- with waivers, exemptions, sweetheart deals, and deferrals to Democrat-aligned groups, of course -- as the Republicans are about ObamaCare's deferral.

    No doubt about it: propaganda works. And when one faction adamantly opposes the other on a Progressive issue, the MSM blames any and all negative consequences of the standoff exclusively on that issue's opponent. The propaganda is so effective that even Reason writers buy into it.

  • Jordan||

    Yeah. And Reason seems to have joined the the MSM in insisting that the Tea Party Republicans are solely responsible for the shutdown.

    Um no. They are rightly pointing out that that's how it is being perceived by the public.

  • Bryan C||

    Which is exactly why it's a total waste of time to even consider this factor. It simply does not matter.

    The GOP is obviously not to blame for this shutdown, but they're being blamed anyway. See how it works? The GOP is already going to be blamed no matter what. No matter what.

    If they cave, they get blamed. If they succeed, not only will they get no credit, they will be blamed for things that have nothing at all to do with anything. If "avoiding blame" is important to you, then you're totally screwed. You've already lost. You will not go to space today.

    The GOP needs to give up their delusional fantasies of good press, do their fucking jobs, and get blamed. Life isn't fair.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Here's how -- Shutting the government down over the principle of defunding Obamacare is heavily unpopular now, and unlikely to become more popular during the actual shutdown

    No DC hive mind nonsense.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    NO More

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Why are you even discussing defunding Obamacare - that's not part of the CR. The CR DELAYS it for one year.

    The defund stuff is over; we've moved on to delay.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "2010 by-elections"

    I thought that "A by-election...is an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/By-election

  • RightNut||

    Since you need popularity to win more than just the 2010 by-elections, these poll numbers matter.

    When the fuck have you, or any Reason writer, ever cared about Republican's electoral fortunes?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    ...would prevent the GOP from ever winning the second fucking house back.

    When did this become a concern of libertarians? I guess you forgot the mantra. The parties are exactly the same, rinse, repeat.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And it is my contention that the one-fucking-house strategy of defunding -- which, we should be clear, the one fucking house has already abandoned in this case -- would prevent the GOP from ever winning the second fucking house back.

    WTF???

    Because Obamacare is going to be such a smashing success?

    Matt, get the fuck out of DC while you can still salvage some semblance of your sanity. I fear it may already be too late.

  • Mike M.||

    I think it has something do with winning the Senate.

    Obama is going to be president for three more years, which means the republicans have to win a dependable two-thirds majority in both houses next year in order to be able to override his veto.

    We all know that there's no chance of that happening. Furthermore, you would NEVER be in favor of that happening even if there were any possibility of it happening.

  • XM||

    They'll have to pick up enough seats to override the president's veto, don't they?

  • Rasilio||

    I've said it before. Repealing Obamacare is the dumbest fucking idea in Washington since Obamacare itself.

    Obama was an idiot wasting political capital pressing a Rube Goldberg scheme that can never work and is wildly unpopular on an issue that almost no one thought was important at the time.

    The problem is the Republicans had no answer, they lack the courage to stand up and propose an actual free market health care reform and they lack the political fortitude to let it go forward and collapse while blaming the Democrats for it's failure. Instead they hem and haw and drag their feet and offer feeble half assed resistance that is truly meaningless but serves to provide political cover for Obamacare's ultimate failure, because now it can all be blamed on Republican Obstructionism.

    There were 2 winning strategies in response to Obamacare. Wash your hands of it and let it go forward while proclaiming loudly and often that Obamacare is all the Democrats fault, or even better skipping the idiotic repeal process and moving straight on to the replace with an actual market based reform.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    What Rasilio said.

    We're going to get the worst possible outcome.

    The CR with the delay attached is just a negotiating position for the House. They'll end up settling on a delay to the individual mandate to go along with Obama's delay of the employer mandate. The Repubs will call this a victory but it actually just leaves another underfunded social welfare program in place.

  • Another David||

    Sadly, Republicans are to free markets as a Shetland pony with a car antenna duct-taped to its nose is to a unicorn.

  • robc||

    We are right, Peter and Matt are wrong.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yep, they engage in concern trolling over a dreaded government shut down :::faints::: --gotta keep on the at DC social circuit, doncha know.

  • Matt Welch||

    I am so desperate to be invited to DC cocktail parties that I live in New York, and never go to cocktail parties!

  • Lady Bertrum||

    You do get invited to go on Bill Mahar, though. How was the weather in Cali?

  • SIV||

    On the flight Matt looked down and sneered all the way!

  • cavalier973||

    I sneered back.

  • robc||

    Also, we have been trashing Suderman for far longer than this issue. Because he regularly deserves it.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Oh boy right of the bat we got Team Orangetards telling us that NONE shall speak against one of our prophets, for that is heresy.

  • Mike M.||

    Six in 10 say they don't want the government to be shut down, and

    68 percent say a government shutdown would be a bad thing, and

    70 percent of Americans, including 59 percent of Democrats, opposed raising the debt ceiling.

    In other words, "the American people" are a bunch of clueless idiots with nonsensical, incompatible, and wildly self-contradictory opinions. Why should any elected official take such rubbish seriously?

  • Rich||

    +60 to 70%

  • ||

    This.

    We're going to balance the budget while lowering taxes by doing away with loopholes for quadrillionaires and cutting off foreign aid, and give everyone universal health insurance coverage without disrupting anyone's existing policy. The gub'mint will do it! It's their job to think about this stuff!

  • CatoTheElder||

    If the greedy 1% capitalists would just disgorge their hordes of wealth, there would be a superabundance for everybody.

    If that's isn't enough and there isn't enough in the ObamaStash, all the government needs to do to accomplish this is print more money.

    Sure, money doesn't grow on trees, but it's easy to solve that problem with existing technology.

  • CE||

    70 percent of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling. Why are Obama and the Democrats going against the will of the people?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    So most don't like Obamacare, some Republicans try at least to delay it, the Democrats pledge to shut down the government rather than delay Obamacare, but the Republicans squandered something? I guess I'm not grasping a couple of steps in that argument.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Most want spending cuts attached to the debt ceiling and most don't like Obamacare, so it would like, be a great strategy to attach the spending cuts to the hike in the debt ceiling, but totally uncool to try to delay Obamacare that way, because...derpity derpdy derp

  • Cytotoxic||

    God dammit Suderman that's totally asin-oh oh sory CIYP I thought you were Suderman you sounded exactly like him.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    You're missing the part where Hairy Reed telling the HoR and the American people to go fuck themselves is the reasonable compromising position.

    Because compromise means doing exactly what Hairy and Bammy want, and not a millimeter less.

  • creech||

    What you aren't grasping is that it won't be spun that way by the Media.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I grasp that, but that applies to every issue, so why it would apply uniquely here?

  • CatoTheElder||

    You're missing the fundamental premise: all negative outcomes are the fault of Republicans.

    This is especially true when Tea Party Republicans are involved.

  • Bryan C||

    Yes.

  • CE||

    Yes, Republicans are obstructionists for wanting to change the Unaffordable Care Act. Democrats are not obstructionist for wanting to change the debt ceiling law.

  • Killazontherun||

    The media focus is always on the GOP during these negotiation crises. I don't know why any politician would bother to be one. Being a Democrat means getting a free ride no matter what you legislate, no matter what stupid shit comes out of your mouth, no matter what steak house hostess you rape.

  • mr simple||

    * 68 percent say a government shutdown would be a bad thing.

    Like the sequester? What happens if/when it happens and no one notices?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    68 percent say a government shutdown would be a bad thing.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, public opinion is driven by what the nightly news talking hairdos tell them. There is no analysis of either party stated or actual policies. There is self-fulfilling prophecy in the form of horse race reporting, talk of the politics involved and how the stubbornly partisan the GOP is and how people will blame the right for a stoppage. Alternate that reporting with sensational story after sensational story of how a government shutdown is going to destroy people's lives, and the Republicans are fortunate the polling is more against them.

  • Rich||

    There is no analysis

    Come on, Fist. That takes time, effort, and smarts. It's simply not cost-effective.

    NBC Nightly News was proudly "answering questions" about Democratcare last week. Stuff like "How do I sign up" as opposed to "Why do the unions want out"?

  • alittlesense||

    You are completely correct. I know some people who do exactly that. Listen to the talking hairdos. They know nothing of the details, and generally don't want to know. Too many people on both sides think politics is a simple tale of good versus evil, and unless their side vanquishes everything in their path, the world will end.

  • BardMetal||

    Why do the Republicans get blamed for a government shut down, when all they want is to remove Obamacare? It's the Democrats that are willing to shut down the government in order to protect an extremely unpopular program, but as usual they never seem to get blamed.

  • Another David||

    Because it's the Republicans' play. They started the fight, and they're picking the stakes. Nobody forced them to make delay/defunding/whatever the strategy is now a condition of the CR.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    How are Republicans picking "shut down the government" as the stakes?

  • Another David||

    By hitching their wagon to a bill that shuts down the government if it doesn't pass.

    Doesn't help that they did so with a short enough deadline that for the Democrats to give in would make them look like complete pussies, *even for Senate Democrats*.

  • robc||

    Arent the Dems hitching their wagon to a bill that shuts down the government if it doesn't pass?

    And they had all year to pass a budget thru the Senate, but chose not to do it.

    YOUR LOGIC GOES BOTH WAYS.

    And of the two, the GOP is the only one that has offered a compromise. The Dems havent moved at all.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    By hitching their wagon to a bill over which the Democrats would rather shut down the government than pass? Unless I misunderstand it, a shut down requires both sides and one side has offered compromise and the other hasn't. But the one that hasn't is getting a pass. That reasoning seems... flawed.

  • CE||

    No, a shutdown just requires the debt to exceed the debt limit law, and will happen automatically since Congress and the President passed laws funding programs beyond available revenue and available debt under the debt ceiling law.

    It will take a compromise of some sort to work out whether to cut spending to stay under the debt ceiling law, or to change the debt ceiling law to accommodate expenditures that Congress previously voted to fund without the funds to do so.

    The Democrats are obstructing the continued operation of the government by not compromising.

  • Mike M.||

    Because it's the Republicans' play. They started the fight, and they're picking the stakes. Nobody forced them to make delay/defunding/whatever the strategy is now a condition of the CR.

    Bullshit. The democrats started this fight by bending the rules to ram a shitty law down America's throat on a completely partisan basis.

  • Rasilio||

    "Bullshit. The democrats started this fight by bending the rules to ram a shitty law down America's throat on a completely partisan basis."

    Irrelivant.

    Who started it doesn't matter, whose fault it actually is really doesn't matter. What matters is how perception of the issue can be spun in 30 second soundbytes and 25 word headlines and "Republicans are shutting down the government over Obamacare" is a much easier headline to digest than the facts of the case.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    "Republicans offer to fund government and delay Obamacare, Democrats would rather shut down the government" is just as easy to digest, other than the fact it won't make the headlines.

  • Rasilio||

    Your headline:15 words, 105 characters
    My Headline:8 words, 59 characters

    I win the headline war, my view prevails.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    "Democrats are shutting down the government over Obamacare"

    8 words
    57 characters

  • Rasilio||

    Aye but that is where media bias comes in. see in those articles they do break down all the ins and outs of whose fault things are and an astute voter could reasonably use those facts to assign blame where it most realistically belonged. But your average voter is just going to go with the headline and the headline will reflect the political views of the editors who are with just a handful of exceptions dominated by self professed progressives/liberals

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Yeah, "other than the fact it won't make the headlines." The Rs are full of crap on plenty of issues, but the constant 5 point or more headwind really is a pile of guano but without the benefits.

  • Swiss Servator, Kneel to Zug!||

    Do I hear 7 words and 56 characters or less?

  • ||

    If congress had actually passed a budget in the last 4 years we wouldn't be in a position where political stunting with the "continuing resolution" to keep the money taps open was even an issue.

  • robc||

    Exactly.

    The mistake was ever passing a continuing resolution to begin with. Pass a fucking budget if you want to fund the fucking government, you fucking fuckheads.

  • sarcasmic||

    Heads the Republicans are pushing a bill that can't be passed, tails the Republicans are obstructing a bill that should be passed. No matter what, it's always going to be their fault.

  • Jordan||

    Exactly. You think any of the nuance here in the comments will make it through to Joe Sixpack?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    PLEASE STOP SAYING IT'S ABOUT DEFUNDING OBAMACARE. It's about DELAYING implementation for a year. The continuing resolution includes a one year delay of implementation - not defunding. If the CR isn't passed THEN the government will be "shut down".

  • Another David||

    Why, it's almost as if they're all complete morons!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    * 68 percent say a government shutdown would be a bad thing.

    Bloomberg News is in full on WORLD TO END AT MIDNIGHT mode right now, so this does not exactly come as a surprise.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Public-opinion fundamentals showed that Republicans had a strong hand in attaching spending cuts to the debt ceiling...

    Really, what makes you think the same political dynamics in the Senate are not in effect for this action as well? Can you seriously expect Obama would accept spending cuts but draws the line on delaying the PPACA? This would be funny if it weren't so patently absurd.

    Instead they have been tirelessly using unpopular and unpersuasive means to an unworkable end.

    Because being unpopular and unworkable are anathema to libertarians. That one IS funny.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Slightly more than half of less than half of eligible voters voted for the guy whose face is on it. If that's not a mandate, what is?

  • robc||

    Matt,

    You are wrong.

    Anyone with two functioning brain cells understands that the constitution specifically allows control of one house to prevent funding on anything.

    Thats exactly how the founders fucking wanted it to fucking work.

  • Rich||

    Thats exactly how the founders fucking wanted it to fucking work.

    This can not be overemphasized.

  • robc||

    I originally had one more fucking in there, but thought that was overemphasizing. My bad.

  • ||

    My fucking bad.

    FTFY

  • robc||

    If I had an edit button, I would have fixed that myself.

  • CE||

    You really think H&R could survive if they added an edit button? This thing is barely stable 22 hours a day as is.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm thinking that if the Senate represented the states governments that are being forced into implementing this monstrosity (as in pre-17A), it never would have passed in the first place.

  • robc||

    Well duh.

    The XVIIth is actually worse than the XVIth, although they kind of go together.

    The early 20th century progressive era passed 4 amendments, 3 of which are absolute crap.

  • Zeb||

    Maybe. Though I suspect most or all states would have done elections for senators with or without an amendment requiring it by now.

  • robc||

    Doubt it.

    State house isnt giving up that power.

  • robc||

    Also, not an option. Constitution specified means of election:

    "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof"

    "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states"

    Senate is chosen by legislature. Period. XVIIth changed that, but states couldnt on their own.

  • robc||

    You were thinking of the Presidential elector method:

    "Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors"

    The state has the power to choose method for those.

  • #||

    The states could all hold popular elections and then the legistlatures could appoint senators based on those elections.

    This is what happened with the elctoral college. State legistlatures just started selecting electors based on popular referendums.

  • robc||

    With the presidential electors, the state legislature has the power to make the elections binding.

    With the senators, they still had to select them, even if it was a non-competitive selection.

    After every other state was selecting electors via popular vote, SC was still selecting electors in their legislature.

    Unlike presidential electors, the state legislature werent giving up their senatorial selection powers easily.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    The states could all hold popular elections and then the legistlatures could appoint senators based on those elections.

    By 1912...33 states had introduced the use of direct primaries.
  • Cdr Lytton||

    Strike that. That's for primaries in general, not Senate selection.

  • Zeb||

    I guess you are right, thanks for the correction.
    But I'm not so sure about state houses not giving up that power. They did, after all, vote to amend the constitution that way.

  • Calidissident||

    The states were the ones who begged Congress to pass the 17th Amendment, and then ratified it. This notion that the 17th was some guardian of freedom and limited government is nothing more than historical revisionism

  • sarcasmic||

    So what if they wanted it? Maybe they wanted to give up responsibility and willingly cede power to the federal government.

  • robc||

    This notion that the 17th was some guardian of freedom and limited government is nothing more than historical revisionism

    Has anyone ever, in the history of the universe, said that?

  • sarcasmic||

    Has anyone ever, in the history of the universe, said that?

    Keep it down! He's got the straw man on the ropes!

  • CE||

    I suspect if the 17th Amendment didn't exist, or had been repealed when people starting call for its repeal, 99 of our 100 senators would be the same exact people, and Dr. Rand Paul would be seeing patients about eye care.

  • John||

    Exactly Rob. The Washington hive mind, which sadly Matt seems to have fallen into, can't conceive of the fact that since the Republicans won control of the House, they have a right to fund or not fund anything they want. If the President and the Dems don't like that, then they need to offer the House Republicans something in return for funding their pony.

  • robc||

    funding their pony

    Im stealing that phrase.

    Hell, the reason the GOP won control of the House was the ACA. They were given a majority to strangle the fucker to death.

    To be honest, they have been pussies about it so far.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yep, a real tea party house would tell reid and obama to go fuck themselves and keep the government shut down until the capitulated.

    Instead Bohner and the rest of the republican pussy leaders are trying to play it both ways.

  • Matt Welch||

    They certainly have that right. Two things about that:

    1) They have already walked back from exercising that right, by passing a CR that only delays Obamacare by one year & repeals the medical devices tax. But still,

    2) If they well and truly refused to fund Obamacare, period, they would, in my opinion, inflict electoral defeat on themselves in 2014. Which is an election that they should otherwise have no problem picking up many seats in, and which is also one that they *need* to win if they are ever going to repeal Obamacare.

  • robc||

    #2 makes no sense.

    Ending the ACA is why they were given control of the House to begin with.

    I dont see how delaying and/or defunding it would lead to a defeat. Its not what they were elected to do, but it is a step in the right direction.

  • Matt Welch||

    Because that tactic, right now, is very unpopular, and unlikely to become more popular with a shutdown.

  • robc||

    It isnt unpopular with the people who voted them in.

  • Calidissident||

    Given the polling numbers, it seems that a large number of people that voted them in disagree with that statement. Most people may not like Obamacare. But even more oppose a "government shutdown" as a cost of *possibly* defunding it. The numbers back that up.

  • Cytotoxic||

    1) How much non-response bias do these polls have?

    2) Is this going to be horribly unpopular in the same way the sequester was horribly unpopular? I think it is. I think people will stop caring once partial shutdown fails to end the world.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Why would defunding an unpopular program passed by parliamentary legerdemain be inflicting electoral defeat on themselves? Wouldn't repealing Obamacare then inflict even greater electoral defeat on themselves? Doesn't your position imply that either that the polls on Obamacare are wrong or the electorate will punish the Rs for doing something with which they agree?

  • Matt Welch||

    Polls don't like Obamacare. They also don't like using a threat of government shutdown to defund Obamacare. This may indicate that the public would prefer a deliberated and legislated repeal. Which would require winning the Senate in 2014.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Who's threatening the shutdown, though? It ain't the Rs.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Which would require winning the Senate in 2014.

    Which, to you, means letting the Dem's have anything they want and making speeches?

  • radar||

    Which would show that, as usual, the American public is a)schizophrenic and b)dumber than a box of rocks.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Which would require winning the Senate in 2014.

    With an impossibly large majority. Your analysis is as superficial and useless as Suderderp's.

  • robc||

    They have already walked back from exercising that right

    "Walked back" or "offered a reasonable compromise"?

    Delaying a year gives a chance to make it a clear issue in the 2014 elections. Of course, I think the voters made their position clear in 2010.

  • Matt Welch||

    As stated in the post, I think that is indeed a reasonable offer. One that--again, IMO--would have had a better chance of being accepted had they been politicking about that over the past two months instead of defunding Obamacare.

  • robc||

    You never lead with the compromise. Thats just bad negotiating. Do you think Robinson Cano's agent thinks he is going to get $305MM over 10 years?

  • Matt Welch||

    Cano's negotiations are not impacted by public opinion....

  • robc||

    Season ticket holders might disagree with that statement.

  • John||

    So Matt,

    If after a day or two of shutdown, the Republicans in the house pass a CR fudning Obamacare but also containing some wonderful little poison pills like allowing Keystone and ending EPA regulation of C02 or whatever else you can think of, do you not think that Reid and Obama would be under tremendous pressure to cave?

    This whole "make it about Obamacare" thing works both ways. What happens when the Republicans give Obama what he says he wants but then takes something else?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Look, anything the Republicans do other than offering a clean bill containing exactly what the Senate Democrats want is Republican obstructionism and brinksmanship and is a failure to compromise and reach a common sense solution. Geez.

  • Cytotoxic||

    HUR DUR I DON'T UNDERSTAND NEGOTIATION /Welch

  • John||

    I am not seeing number 2. If anything rolling over will cause their base to go into revolt and stay home killing them at the midterms.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yep.

  • wareagle||

    I guess when you're inside the bubble, Team Red and Blue are all you see. The figure that ought to jump off the page is "68% say a govt shutdown would be bad." That society has been conditioned to have so much faith in govt despite the innumerable examples of why that faith should be absent just reinforces that we have a lemming society.

  • John||

    A 100% of the public would say those people killed in that mall in Kenya was "bad". But how many of that 100% actually care enough to do anything? Same thing here. Just because you say its "bad" doesn't mean you care.

  • John||

    The problem with these polls are they don't measure intensity. What does "bad thing" mean? And how many people who would have voted one way will now vote the other because of a shut down? These polls don't tell you that. So, they really don't tell you much of anything.

    Take the "who does the public blame" polls. The last a saw 44% blamed the Republicans, 35% blamed the Dems and the rest blamed both. That statistic gets trotted out over and over again as irrefutable evidence the Republicans are doomed. Well maybe. But maybe not. Of the 44% blaming Republicans, how many of those are fanatical Democrats who will never vote D? Of the people blaming both, how many plan to vote D as a result? You can't tell.

    I would submit that one of two things will happen. Either the shutdown will happen and end without anything bad happening in which case it will be forgotten the week after it happens or the shutdown will result in something really bad that won't be forgotten. If it is the latter, it is hard to imagine that the Party holding the presidency and demanding the implementation of a really unpopular law will escape damage from the fall out.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And another thing,

    How many of the 44% that will 'blame' the republicans actually want them to do it.

    Im in that category.

  • carol||

    What if they have a shutdown and nobody cares? The result could be that people finally figure out just how unimportant government really is. If the Republicans don't fold, big if, a shutdown could be a very good thing.

  • CE||

    The American economy would prosper like never before if the government were shut down and never revived. Just fund Social Security and Treasury debt payments out of the taxes that continue to come in. If there's not enough cash, pro-rate it to the payees.

    Eventually people will figure out they can get away without paying and the tax stream will slowly dry up, allowing for a gradual weaning away from the teat of government.

  • eyeroller||

    to use the Fiscal Year deadline to try to defund Obamacare

    Thing is, Matt, Republicans don't want to defund Obamacare, and they don't want to cut government.

    They only want to put on a show because they think it plays well back home.

    Within a few days we'll have fully funded Obamacare and fully funded government.

    Republicans and Democrats want the same thing: lots and lots and lots and lots of government. The battles are about getting more of their team members in the seats.

  • Lord Humungus||

    remember, everything always goes the Democrats way. That's the rules of the game.

  • RG||

    Maybe I'm confused, but the Republican strategy might not be so crazy.

    Here's how I see it playing out: Senate rejects and sends clean bill back to House, which House grudgingly accepts. GOP can now claim they did everything possible, save an unpopular shutdown, to slow ACA. Any issues with the roll out can now be hammered by the GOP as an "I told you so". The Dems look incompetent and unreasonable AND like stooges of big business as they had no problem delaying that mandate.

    The GOP now has a year before mid terms to point out every flaw in the roll out and continue to highlight the Dems complete unwillingness to compromise on a delay.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    But the ACA only directly effects a small minority of voters.

  • John||

    It effects every voter in America you lying piece of shit. It unilaterally changes the terms of nearly every insurance contract in America.

    No one here is dumb enough to believe your lies. Go take an overdose of your meds and choke on your own vomit you sick little bastard.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You're full of shit. The vast majority of voters are on their employer's plan or Medicare and neither will have a noticeable change due to the ACA.

  • robc||

    Bullshit. Every plan is now having to cover stuff that wasnt being covered before.

  • CE||

    Flex spending accounts have already been reduced. I had to laugh when some of the Obama supporters at work whined about that one.

  • John||

    And the terms of both medicare and the employer provided policies change. You have to offer birth control and a bunch of other liberal ponies in every policy now. That is why so many people's rates are going up.

    No go somewhere else and throw your shit and embarrass humanity. You have done that enough here for the day.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Birth control is a fucking negligible cost in health insurance. In fact, by preventing pregnancy it saves money. And most covered it anyway.

  • Bryan C||

    You're right, forcing employers to pay for birth control doesn't save money. Because progressives get a thrill forcing people to do things.

    It's just another way for the government to screw over people who think the First Amendment should actually mean something.

  • robc||

    80% increase if I take the default plan that is "nearest" what I currently have.

  • John||

    That is going to be most people Rob. Unless you had a kid with a cronic disease or something, most people opted for lower end plans. They can't do that anymore and their rates are going to skyrocket as a result.

    Denying that fact is why our nasty little sock puppet is posting here. The Progs are desperate to figure out a way for people not to noticed how they are being screwed.

  • robc||

    80.33% actually.

    $159.24 to $287.15.

    That is with a $500 dollar increase in deductible, and a $1100 increase in annual out-of-pocket maximum.

    Fortunately, it looks like I can renew for one more year under my current plan, as long as I renew in December. If I wait until January, they cant offer it anymore.

    Ive got a call in for pricing and stuff, I just received info on saturday, so havent had to get other options priced out. Im sure my current plan will increase in price too, it went up about $10 last year. But I will accept a 10% increase.

  • robc||

    But, hey, at least I will be covered if I get pregnant!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You won't be able to price "Obamacare" until Oct 1.

    I suggest you do it fast if your insurance provider is trying to gouge you all on their own.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Right, because insurance companies never look at the future.

  • Jordan||

    His insurance provider has already priced Obamacare. Not participating in the exchanges doesn't exempt you from the regulations.

  • John||

    And sure enough our nasty little sock puppet shows up to take a dump on the thread to blame it on the evil corporations.

    What NEM and Jordan said. Just go choke on your own vomit you little bastard. No one here is dumb enough to buy the shit you sell.

  • Jordan||

    Funny how catastrophic high-deductible plans are pretty much outlawed.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    But they're not real insurance because they don't cover things you should budget for in the first motherfucking place. I bet auto insurance would be super cheap if it covered oil changes and new tires.

  • Jordan||

    We should all have grocery insurance. Why does Obama want people to starve?

    I bet Stalin's Buttboy would cheer it as market-based if we turned grocery stores into public utilities like we're doing to insurance companies.

  • Jordan||

    Not only that, but Obamacare imposes a cap on FSAs. These motherfuckers are complete economic ignoramuses.

  • Lord at War||

    Jordan-

    I am almost 50, smoker, single male in excellent health who has bought his health insurance in the "individual market" since 1992. Other than broken bones and stitches, I haven't seen a doctor since my last childhood vaccination.

    My catastrophic plan does not pass favor for 5 different reasons.

    1)- Does not provide "first dollar coverage" for "preventative services"- which I have never used in my life. If I ever want a "annual physical" that a doctor would charge $300 for, I will pay the doctor $300- rather than being charged $345 through my insurance (that 85% payment ratio thingy).

    2)- Does not provide "maternity coverage"- did I mention I'm pushing 50, and any woman that would fuck me is almost surely post-menopause?

    3)- Does not cover "mental health" services that I would absolutely never use under any circumstance- but, especially because the gov't would likely use that to deny my right to buy a gun.

    4)-My plan has a $7 million lifetime limit. I'm am never, ever going to earn $7 mil during my entire life. Spend the $6,999,000.00--If they save the last $1000 to provide me good drugs for an "easy" death, I'm extremely happy with my plan.

    5)-A $5000.00 deductible is considered too large for my age- yet my out-of pocket health expenses over the last five years was a bottle of (generic) Advil. I am getting older, and can see where this math might change in the future, but I'm an adult who can make his own choice.

  • Jordan||

    Everybody fills out a tax return.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    To be honest, they have been pussies about it so far.

    There should have been a group of Republican Congressmen out on the front lawn of the White House every day for at least the past six months, clucking like chickens and mercilessly taunting the president until he agreed to sit down and negotiate, in person.

  • robc||

    They House should have attached an amendment killing the ACA to EVERY. SINGLE. BILL. they passed.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Also, pass bills funding single or groups of programs but never one funding Obamacare. Let the Democrats in the Senate vote down the funding of those programs or not and try to explain why they won't fund puppies and unicorns unless they can fund Obamacare at the same time.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Like these appropriation bills that Reid won't bring up for a vote?

    http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app14.html

  • sarcasmic||

    I know it would be obstructionism if Republicans refused to allow a vote. What is it called when Democrats do it?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Smart political tactics! The stuff of true libertarian thought!

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Compromise!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    * 57 percent say they do not like Obamacare

    A solid one-fourth of that number are butthurt progressives who still pine for single-payer or a public option.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    How Did Republicans Squander Such a Good Hand?

    Since the Republican base is more concerned with tribal loyalty than actual accomplishment, Republican politicians have decided that it's more important to be seen publicly taking dramatic stances on cutting government than actually succeeding in getting government cut.

  • John||

    Concern troll is concerned.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I dunno. Isn't this why the Boehner-wing of the GOP doesn't go with the one-appropriation-bill-at-a-time strategy? They don't want to end the log rolling anymore than Team Blue? That seems like the best explanation to me. I guess it could be just group think/stupidity ... of the "things just aren't done that way" variety. But wanting to preserve their ability to get their pork on the menu seems more likely.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Isn't this why the Boehner-wing of the GOP doesn't go with the one-appropriation-bill-at-a-time strategy? They don't want to end the log rolling anymore than Team Blue?

    Why would the House be passing appropriations bills if what you are implying is accurate?

    Bonus points if you point out the appropriations bill the Senate has brought up for a vote.

    It's almost like people don't have a clue about what they're writing about sometimes.

    http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app14.html

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    You miss my point.

    Why isn't Boehner talking about this? That is all he should be saying : "we passed the funding for the things we want to fund. If you don't want to fund some of the things we have funded, that's OK. We spend too much anyways.".

    Instead he seems like he wants to be seen in the midst of tough negotiations, so everybody knows he is "doing something".

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Boehner accuses Obama of trying to shut down government
    By Erik Wasson and Russell Berman - 06/06/13 12:22 PM ET

    Do you want him to come to your house and talk about it or is the media what you had in mind? Is a letter to the POTUS enough talking?

    http://thehill.com/blogs/on-th.....overnment-

    What kind of talking do you have in mind?

    “Having said that, the idea of operating for an entire year under a CR is not a good way to do business, and I’ve been working with Chairman [Hal] Rogers to try to find a way to do all of these appropriations bills,” Boehner said at a Capitol news conference. “I think it’s important for Congress to do its work.”

    http://thehill.com/homenews/ho.....t-shutdown

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Ya, mostly I just want him to sell this to the public. And not look so sad/ashamed/uncomfortable about it. And yes that will require swimming against the stream of the media.

    And I still don't see what needs to be "negotiated" here. There are 3 parties that have effective veto power here over spending. So the spending that comes out of this should be the spending that all 3 parties agree to. That would be better than how things have been done in the past. So lets do that.

    If Boehner actually sticks with this, I'll give him all the credit in the world. He hasn't convinced me he really means it. So I doubt he convinced Harry Reid or Obama either.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "How Did Republicans Squander Such a Good Hand?"

    I think this is just a result of the fact that different people in the party are marketing themselves to different constituencies.

    Some of the Republicans in Congress are worried about appealing to swing voters.

    Rubio is worried about appealing to Republican primary voters.

    I should say, I think some Congressional Republicans are happy to have a wedge issue to split their own constituencies, too.

    That's all it is. Same as it ever was.

  • Rasilio||

    "How Did Republicans Squander Such a Good Hand?

    Duh, cause they are the stupid party

  • robc||

    If they cant actually do anything with it, was it ever a good hand?

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Matt-

    Why do you consider nationwide poll numbers to be useful evidence here? I would think they would only start to be relevant if you could assume a relatively uniform distribution of those opinions across districts. If everyone in the blue districts opposes a shutdown but a minority in the red districts does it would produce those majority poll numbers but still be good holding strategy for team red.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Matt-

    Why do you consider nationwide poll numbers to be useful evidence here? I would think they would only start to be relevant if you could assume a relatively uniform distribution of those opinions across districts. If everyone in the blue districts opposes a shutdown but a minority in the red districts does it would produce those majority poll numbers but still be good holding strategy for team red.

  • prolefeed||

    The figure that ought to jump off the page is "68% say a govt shutdown would be bad."

    The wording that ought to jump off the page is saying ""govt shutdown" when what is actually meant is "temporarily laying off less-essential workers until a balanced budget is passed".

    How Republicans let Democrats use such blatantly false wording is beyond me.

  • RightNut||

    Wait wait wait. For fucking years Reason writers have been urging libertarian leaning Republicans to stop worrying about politics and practice what they preach as far as smaller government goes. Now a Republican has actually done this, and Reason turns around and lambast them for bad politics???? Really???

    I guess Cosmotarian really is just another word for Democrat.

  • Cheeto Puffs||

    Indeed. For years their position on the GOP has been , to ignore your base, ignore their views on immigration, on trade, on gay marriage, on abortion, and take the fringe, libertarian view. Something else is affot here.

  • Zeb||

    1. Spend your career pretending to be a libertarian and working for a libertarian magazine even though you really are a Democrat,
    2.
    3. Profit.

    Yeah. Makes sense.

  • RightNut||

    David Brooks.

    next?

  • Zeb||

    David Brooks is step 2?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    It's the alternate spelling for Dave Weigel

  • RightNut||

    It's the alternate spelling for Dave Weigel

    I was thinking of him too, but I'm sure I could come up with dozens of writers that have written for a publication of one ideological bent and then done a complete 180.

    1. Spend your career pretending to be a libertarian and working for a libertarian magazine even though you really are a Democrat,
    2. Write a book lambasting the extreme elements that have taken over your ideology and let the media gobble it up.
    3. Profit(and become a media "expert" on former ideology).

    Does that not sound like David Frum, or Joe Scarborough, or a hundred others?

  • Cytotoxic||

    If Libertarians fall for this 'being reasonable' garbage, you can forget about any influence in the GOP. We saw this from Welch when Walker was taking on PSUs. He's a pussy, and pussies aren't worth winning over.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I will say this, based on my obviously imperfect sampling; if the evul Rethuglitards (and that is who will get 99% of the blame) shut down the government gravy train, Montana will more likely than not send a Democrat to the Senate to replace Baucus, and probably one to Congress, as well. I suspect the people who already have declined the shot at that seat are very seriously reconsidering.

    They luvs 'em some cheeses, up here.

  • John||

    But how many of the people telling you that have the attention span necessary to even remember this come next November? Sometimes a low information low IQ electorate has an upside.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    IOW Montana is full of pussies.

    Oh my god, they're going to temporarily lay off non essential government workers for a few days ----THAT CANNOT STAND

    Pulease.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I expected more from Montana. Is it an intrusion from the coastal states or are they just pussies?

  • robc||

    Ted Turner is the largest private land owner in Montana, IIRC.

  • Cheeto Puffs||

    68 percent say a government shutdown would be a bad thing.

    Who here doesn't think a government shutdown would be a bad thing? I'd much rather have a deal to cut spending, but we probrably won't get that, so it may be the only option.

  • robc||

    17 teams since 1976.

    I still dont know how Im alive, Ive lived thru 17!!!! shutdowns.

  • robc||

    times, not teams.

  • Cheeto Puffs||

    The turth that everyone in proffesional convervatism knows but know one wants to say is that fiscal conservatism is not the main ideal that motavtes the republican base. How many of them know what a "fiscal year" is? Just something to keep in mind whenever thinking about these opinion polls.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    IOW Montana is full of pussies Prairie Populists.

    Robc was referring to the 17th Amendment(?) earlier; the one which transferred election of Senators from state legislatures to teh Peepulz.

    Montanans proudly claim responsibility for that.

    If they could openly socialize land ownership, they'd do it in a heartbeat.

  • robc||

    Fuck Montana with a rusty rake.

  • KevinP||

    Matt, you missed a big sentence from the poll:


    Another poll last week, from a Democratic pollster, offered all three options -- the GOP, Democrats and Obama -- and found Democrats (29 percent) and Obama (12) actually combined for more blame than the GOP (35).
  • RightNut||

    Eh, I don't think those values can be combined so simply. Although Republican's reputation is already in the gutter, so maybe Democrats have more to lose in that regard.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    But how many of the people telling you that have the attention span necessary to even remember this come next November?

    More than enough to keep the fire burning, and remind the faithful in time for the election.

  • John||

    But the faithful will always vote D. If not for shutting down the government or for some other dumb reason. If the faithful are a majority, it doesn't matter what the Republicans do.

  • radar||

    At what point do Congressional Democrats ever face any consequences whatsoever for their abject failure to produce a budget? Ever? Why doesn't THAT factor in these polls?

    Oh, right, if the DNC's propaganda machine doesn't publicize it, then the broadcast media won't report it and therefore it never happened.

  • cavalier973||

    Matt Welch wants the GOP to capture the Senate while retaining control of the House. That way, the GOP can fold, cave, surrender, disappoint, and generally suck TWICE as much as they do now.

  • John||

    As crazy as that sounds, sure. The modern left loves anti-imperialist movements, which it views Islam as being, more than it ever loved rationality or the need for any internal consistency.

  • XM||

    Obama and Reid insists that they'll anything that even sneezes on Obamacare. Maybe the Republicans should have abandoned the defunding project and pushed for a one year delay early, but barring overwhelming public support (and Dem defection) that catches the president attention, it would have died in the senate.

    The ONLY way to avoid the government shutdown and spare the poor GOP from public backlash is to leave Obamacare alone. No tweaks, no defunding, no delays, nothing. Then and only then will Obama cooperate.

  • cavalier973||

    The irony is that, were the GOP willing and able to shut down the FedGov for the remainder of Pres. Obama's presidential term, Obama would become known for presiding over the most amazing economic comeback in history.

  • Winston||

    How can the GOP have a good hand if the Dems won't budge and won't be blamed for that?

  • retroarama||

    For decades Republicans have suffered form Chronic Obstructive Healthcare Syndrome. In the chilly climate of the cold war lawmakers helped along by the AMA wanted to make sure that the US would not catch a bad case of socialized medicine. For an illustrated look http://wp.me/p2qifI-1Hi

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement