The GOP's Plan to Defund Obamacare Was Doomed From the Start


It's almost hard to remember now, but the shutdown showdown that has gripped Congress for the last two weeks was supposed to be about Obamacare. Over the summer, Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz, united behind a plan to demand that health law be defunded in the continuing resolution needed to keep the government open after October 1. House Republicans would refuse to pass any continuing resolution that funded the law.

But the shutdown strategy, intended as a blow against Obamacare and its Democratic backers, has instead blown up in GOP hands. Polling this week indicates that Republicans are being blamed for an unpopular shutdown. And Obamacare, despite its significant troubles, is actually becoming more popular.

The public pins the blame on the GOP for the shutdown by a 22-point margin, according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Favorability toward both the Republican party and its conservative wing, the Tea Party, are both at all-time lows for the poll.

Meanwhile, the popularity of Obamacare—ostensibly the target of the shutdown—is up somewhat since last month. It's still not popular, but 38 percent now say they think the law is a good idea, and 43 percent say it's a bad idea. Last month, it was 31 percent and 44 percent.

Maybe this is just due to short-term variations in the polling data. We've seen Obamacare surge and drop in popularity for brief periods before. But it seems pretty clear that, at minimum, the shutdown isn't hurting Obamacare's standing with the public. And it may even be making the law look better to some.

Given the technological train wreck we've seen over the past few weeks with the opening of Obamacare's health insurance exchanges, especially the practically unusable 36 exchanges run by the federal government, that's not what ought to be happening.

It's not as if the public is somehow convinced that Obamacare's exchanges are working smoothly, either. An AP survey from this week found that only 7 percent of the public thought the opening of the exchanges had gone quite well, and only 20 percent thought it had gone somewhat well. 40 percent of respondents thought it had gone not too well or not well at all.

Some prominent liberal supporters of the law aren't even making token attempts to defend the exchanges. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein said on MSNBC the other night that the administration "did a bad job" with the exchanges and "failed the people it was trying to help." The administration is barely able to defend itself. Daily Show host Jon Stewart practically roasted Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on his show Monday night. In Pittsburgh, Sebelius spoke at an Obamacare sign-up event at which no one was able to sign up—a common experience in states with federally run exchanges.

It's too much to say that all this is getting ignored. But it's not dominating the news like it could, or should. Instead, the focus is on the shutdown and the surrounding negotiations. At a White House press conference this week, President Obama took questions for an hour. Not one of them was about the abysmal performance of his signature legislative achievement.

This was a blown opportunity. But it was more than that. It was a blown opportunity that could have been, should have been, and indeed was foreseen. Conservative columnists like Ramesh Ponnuru practically predicted the results of this week's polling as far back as July, when the defunding plan was first percolating through the Republican ecosystem. Republican legislators like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.), not exactly a fiscal moderate, warned that the plan was doomed to failure

The party went ahead with it anyway. But at this point, Republicans have lost the plot. The shutdown isn't about Obamacare anymore. It's not really about anything, or at least not any specific policy goals. Instead it's about making a stand against the president and his party, regardless of the cost. What started out as an impossible fantasy of striking a big blow against Obamacare may end up harming critics of the law and their cause more than it helps. 

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  1. COCKTAILZZ for everyone!

    1. So ridiculous.

      Are the parties really THAT good?

      Is it worth it to sacrifice so much integrity just to get some twit Gawker interns number?

      I don’t get it.

      What started out as an impossible fantasy of striking a big blow against Obamacare may end up harming critics of the law and their cause more than it helps.

      Possibly the worse thing I’ve ever read from Suderman. Just terrible.

      1. Terrible because it’s true.

        Same damn people on here who thought that electing a huge Democratic supermajority in 2008 was a good thing since it would “teach the Republicans a lesson”– and gave us Obamacare, are still denying reality.

        1. Its not remotely true.

          The tea party appears to be more popular with the people that elected them than ever before.

          1. Really? That’s why Mike Lee has had a 20 point swing towards unfavorable (now quite underwater) in Utah in the same poll in a month?

        2. I never argued that electing a huge democratic majority was a good thing.

          Obamacare is a terriblenogoodverybad law. I support any and all attempts to defund, delist, delete, and detoxification of said bill.

          Hold up the spending, hold up the mandates, hold the budget hostage, I don’t care. Once Obamacare mandates for the individual and businesses gets through our experiment as a constitutional republic is over. This is absolutely non-negotiable in my opinion.

          1. *shrug*

            If I were as prone to throwing out accusations of secret agenda as you, I’d say that you were a socialist wanting the forces of limited government to self-destruct by picking a really bad tactic.

            I don’t think that’s true, but it’s supported by the evidence that I see more than your claims about Suderman.

            1. I joke about the cocktail parties and I don’t think Suderman has some agenda, I just think he’s terribly wrong.

      2. You know, that might just be Suderman’s honest view on the matter. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they have secret and sinister motives. You sound like a progressive Democrat.

        I pretty well agree with you, but acting like no one could honestly disagree is really tiresome.

        1. I would be more apt to agree with you if he wasn’t writing for Reason, which purports to be a libertarian site. I suppose I’m glad he’s honest about it but I don’t see how he squares this with a libertarian outlook.

  2. The shutdown isn’t about Obamacare anymore. It’s not really about anything

    Too bad it’s not as funny as “Seinfeld”.

    1. We can’t return a healthcare law based solely on spite

  3. You mean the OC defunding effort wasn’t designed to fail?
    I thought the point of this was for the Republicans to make a big show of hanging tough in an effort to bring people like me into the fold, then to let OC go on through so they could blame the Democrats for all the crap from it for decades to come.

    1. Please explain how “hanging tough” would have possibly worked, especially given the electorate’s views.

      The attempt to “hang tough” is doing more to entrench Obamacare than anything else.

      1. I think the idea is that you get the Dem Congress Critters and Obama to give a vote of confidence to the ACA with all known the problems. This way, there is no where to hide when the poop hits the fan. There is no “Well when I voted for this shit sandwich back in 2010, it looked wonderful. If I’d known then what I know now, I might have done differently.”

        In 13 months, we’ll see if the strategy works.

        1. Bingo. Or maybe I’m giving them too much credit. It wouldn’t be a first.

        2. They’ve already given the thing the vote of confidence. The shutdown’s done that.

          What’s the point in continuing the shutdown?

          1. The shutdown is inflicting damage on Obama. Congress and the Repubs are already in the single digits in the polls, so they don’t have anything to lose, but continuing damage to Obama is something to gain.

  4. Abandon all hope, ye who enter this thread.

    1. Hey there Debbie Downer, what could possibly go wrong on this thread?

      1. Epi could show up and talk about Chicago-style “pizza”.

        1. Dude, that’s like invoking the devil. Shut up.

          1. *makes zipping motion with right hand across face*

        2. There is no “Chicago-style pizza”. Just an open faced calzone. YOU KNOW THIS.

          On the other hand, anyone watch the new American Horror Story yet? Who knew Julia Roberts’ niece was so fucking hot?

          1. Are you saying she doesn’t have a mouth the size of Charybdis?

            1. FEATURE, NOT BUG, SCRUFFY!

              1. Thank god she’s 22, I thought I was ogling an 18 year old for a second and felt dirty.

              2. I think I’ll be in Epi’s…er….heh heh! MY bunk! Haha!

              3. Tell me what you think, dude.

                She’s got her aunt beat by a country mile, I’ll give her that.

              4. Tell me what you think, dude.

                Lovely child. Resembles one of the Disney/Nick poptarts my daughters liked. The one who played Nancy Drew.
                Show me again when she hits 30, please.

          2. *raises hand*

            I love Eric Roberts – he’s my favorite B- actor. Realizing he created this little jewel just makes me love him more. Thank you, Eric – thank you.

          3. Have you considered that your hatred of deep dish is motivated by shame and feelings of inadequacy at your secret longings for Wil Wheaton to feed you deep dish while dressed as “sexy Trelane”?

            Also is Reasonable fixed? I was busy almost getting arrested in Mexico this weekend and missed the memo.

            1. Reasonable seems fixed, but we’re talking about chicks here, jesse. No one cares about you almost getting arrested at that donkey show you perform in on the weekends.

              Taissa Farmiga is also on the show and is quite cute.

              1. What are you talking about Epi? Why would the cops arrest me for something they’re so enthusiastic about?

          4. I thought calzones were just pizzas folded in half. So all pizza is just open face calzones.

    2. A cosmotarian like you would say that.


  5. You have to be for Obamacare to be against it. Got it.

    1. You have to have a plan to be against it to be against it.

      A plan focused on delaying the individual mandate only, staying on message, might have worked. But not full repeal.

      Obamacare was passed as part of mandatory spending, so shutdowns don’t affect it. And the Democrats are united on this issue, and the White House is firm about its veto threat.

      Giving the Democrats a majority is a big way to further their agenda.

      Obamacare came about partially because of Republicans being idiots when GWB was President, and then because of voters handing the Democrats a huge majority as a result.

      1. Not funding isn’t repeal.

        1. Obamacare doesn’t have to be funded through discretionary spending. It’s mandatory spending. That’s why it continues, even with the government shutdown.

          Yes, I understand the theory that shutting down all the not-Obamacare might cause the Dems to fold on Obamacare, but it doesn’t seem to have worked.

          And even if the media is going to portray it in the worst possible light– that’s not an excuse for doing something stupid and counterproductive, just because the media’s biased against you. You have to have a working strategy for overcoming that. If you don’t, that’s not an argument for doing it anyway.

      2. Giving the Democrats a majority is a big way to further their agenda.

        Since this is impossible it’s not worth mentioning.

        1. It’s quite possible.

          On the current seats as drawn, it’s very possible for the Dems to win a majority by duplicating their vote in 2006, which was a midterm. A slightly smaller majority than 2006, but don’t be crazy and believe the shit that the Dems peddle about gerrymandering.

  6. Honestly, I don’t give a shit about this.

    Is anybody so stupid as to believe that the Republican Establishment hated Obamacare on principle?

    The establishment that supported Mitt Romney – who played the role of John the Baptist on the health insurance mandate? Those guys?

    Of course the Republicans weren’t going to oppose Obamacare implacably!

    Instead the establishment wanted to discredit the Tea Party, whom they hate even more than the Democrats!

    And so they allowed the Democrats to play Rope a Dope with them because they know that thanks to Gerrymandering they won’t lose too many seats, but are hoping that the people in those districts will never vote for a low-tax firebrand again.

    Boehner wants to stay Speaker – so he has to fight fiercely, like Harvard, but in the end lose honorably. And he can always blame the 34 guys who opposed his deal with Reid for fucking up everything when the next leadership contest comes.

    The notion that the establishment somehow fucked up getting blown in a rainbow party is laughable. The establishment is getting what they want.

    1. I don’t see how they have discredited the Tea Party. If anything, they have reinforced the Tea Party’s determination to take over the whole thing. What is supposed to happen here? The tea party just give up and go home? I don’t see that happening.

      1. They’re supposed to be liked John. You see, that’s how libertarians are going to win in America. By being agreeable and likeable.

        1. Yeah, that is what libertarians think. But how is that working out for you? Fuck being liked.

          1. Only some idiotarians like Suderderp think that. Cocktails don’t serve themselves.

          2. If only we negged the electorate harder in the last election cycle we would be ruling from on high!

          3. Yeah, that is what libertarians think.

            John, I think after all the interaction you have had with libertarians, you would have observed that this is not the case.

            Half of us are misanthropes. Most of us recognize that electoral politics is a suckers game and waste of time.

            The notion that enough of us aspire for political power through being nice as to justify that stereotype you are peddling is laughable. Otherwise the Libertarian party wouldn’t be some freak-sideshow but would be a semi-competent political organization.

        2. They’re going to win by getting votes and persuading people, however that happens.

          Sticking with a tactic that doesn’t is stupid.

          I can understand overreach that causes a backlash when you actually have control of the government, like the Dems did with Obamacare. But this is just stupid.

          1. No wrong. The GOP wins MTs with its base, period. There is no ‘backlash’ just noise and whining.

            1. That explains the 5 missed Senate seats in the last few midterms, and losing seats in 1998?

            2. That explains 2006?

              1. 2006 was a referendum on the Iraq war. This is nowhere near that scale of general disfavor. You have to understand something, a lot of the “unfavorability” they’re getting now is coming from their own party. They have an unfavorable view, but they’re not going to vote Democrat. Among independents, the splitis like 32-28 in favor of Dems, ie, not that wide.

      2. There are three tiers of support needed to make a succesful political faction that alters policy:

        1) Legislators that are willing to support the faction
        2) Business owners/rich people/public institutions that will provide money, publicity or other forms of support to the faction
        3) Voters willing to vote the faction line (and withhold votes from candidates who don’t go along with the faction).

        The second tier is critical. The rise of the decentralized tea party movement is largely the result of that second tier deciding the establishment not serving it and being willing to support a slate of firebrands/unknowns that had little to no establishment support, and giving those candidates the exposure needed to get the third tier into voting booths.

        I argue that that a large percentage of that second tier feels burned… badly. They are scared of the IRS and the backlash of the state fucking with them. In the heavily politicized economy, the establishment has millions of ways of punishing them (or withholding rewards to be pedantic). And they feel they have nothing to show for the risks they took.

        I could be wrong; perhaps people will redouble their opposition. But my take on it is that a bunch of people are going to walk away from politics leaving it for the party establishments o continue their plunder until the system crashes down.

        1. They are going to redouble. The cultural agressiveness of the left and the establishment give them no other choice. If the establishment just wanted to sponge taxes, the Tea party would eventually go home. But the establishment wants to transform society. They are making war on a large part of the country, specifically trying to destroy their culture and their institutions. When you do that, you leave them no other choice but to fight.

          1. They are going to redouble. The cultural agressiveness of the left and the establishment give them no other choice.

            You could be right. In fact, inevitably there will come a day when that *does* happen as the establishment struggles to keep an increasingly unworkable system going.

            I am not convinced that that day is here…. yet.

        2. Are the Kochs folding? I don’t think so.

      3. You are right.

        As the polling yesterday indicates, caving is going to lead to primary challenges that establishment cowards republicans cant win.

        1. That’s what promising something you can’t deliver leads to.

          We’ll get more things like Obamacare at this rate, with people insisting on bad tactics.

          1. More tea partiers?

            Im failing to see the problem.

            If the GOP stands strong, they get to keep their jobs, if they fold, they lose them. But a significant number of GOP primary voters are demanding principle.

            1. Fewer tea partiers.

              Mike Lee in UT has lost 20 points of favorability in UT in a month in the same poll.

          2. John, you seem to think that if the Repubs had just voted through an open-ended CR and raised the debt limit, all unconditionally, that their base would be cool with that.

            I think not. I think laying down on this without even a token, doomed-to-fail effort would have set off an avalanche of primary challenges.

  7. And we continue down the path towards insolvency. Yay.

  8. The shutdown will be forgotten by next week. So it will have no effect on the 2014 midterms. But the fact that every Dem Senator had to go on record in support of Obamacare will likely have some far reaching effects.

    1. The GOP already had them on record, did they not?

      On the other side of the ledger, the GOP usually has a turn out advantage in mid-term elections, and Obamacare was going to motivate those people. The shutdown has given the Democrat Party something to motivate their voters now.

      And, the immediate result of the shutdown is that Virginia will have a Governor McAuliffe.

      1. 1) No, it needed to be repeated.

        2) See ‘2010’

        3) Coochi sucked.

        1. Yes, see 2010– where Democrats were insisting in 2009 that passing Obamacare wouldn’t cause them to lose their seats, since it was a year away.

        2. All throughout 2010, I read so many articles by Democratic strategists and independent ones about how it was silly to think that 2010 would be a wave election, and there was no evidence of a backlash in the polls, etc.

        3. 1. Why?

          2. I am not sure how this is responsive. Did the government get shut down in 09?

          3. ‘Coochie’ won statewide election recently, and the Republican candidate easily won for Governor there last time.

      2. yeah Bo, The VA governor’s race is all about the shutdown, not Coochi coming out in favor of keeping the criminal sodomy laws.

        It has gotten to a point where I have stopped believing you are this stupid. You are just trolling.

        1. This. It’s time to stop responding to it. It’s Blue Tulpa but duller.

          1. A rare moment where two Objectivists agree on something.

            1. Objectivists? Well, that explains some things. A lot of them essentially threw in with the GOP at the expense of libertarians a while back. Come to think of it the other guy on that thread giving me such a hard time was named for a Randian character.

              Makes sense.

              1. NK used to be named Randian. I think he was referring to himself.

              2. A lot of them essentially threw in with the GOP at the expense of libertarians a while back.

                Yay more delusion.

                1. Are not you the ‘we need to bomb more Muslims’ character from previous threads?

                2. A lot of them essentially threw in with the GOP at the expense of libertarians a while back.

                  Yay more delusion.

                  It wonders why it gets called Team Blue.

            2. John is an objectivist?

              Or are you saying Cyto and yourself.

              Although your Randian character seemed to break from the objectivist party line a lot.

              1. I thought John identified as a conservative Republican? I cannot remember whether he said that or someone else said it about him, so apologies if that is wrong.

              2. I am an Objectivist. I’m just not one who thinks the four Objectivist perspectives on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and politics necessarily lead to the same conclusions as applied.

                But I do believe in egoism as the best ethical system, in laissez-faire capitalism as the best political system, that A is A, concept-formation etc.

                1. Whereas the rest of us believe that A is some other letter.

                  1. No, you just believe that the meaning of A is dependent on externalities.

        2. Do you think ‘Coochi’ is losing because of the sodomy stance rather than the fact that all of those people in the DC suburbs being furloughed? I bet most Virginians have not even heard of the sodomy issue. ‘Coochi’ won handily with similar conservative stances when running statewide for AG, and according to press reports he did well in Northern Virginia. Not this time.

          1. Yes. Please acquaint yourself with the polling data that had Coochi falling behind well before the shutdown.

            1. Such as this data, where one can note that the lead before the shutdown was around 4-5% and after is 7-9%


              1. Cherry has been picked.

                1. Well it surely isn’t helping him, now is it?

                  Though he almost surely would have lost anyway.

                  Voters like McDonnell if forced to choose between him, TM, and Cooch.

          2. He was loosing before the shutdown, was he not?

            NOVA cannot be anything but Team Blue with all the cash flow from Treasury. Even some rabid socon (who you seem to hate) who runs a beltway bandit firm is going to vote for Obama and be quoted in the Post as a reliable Republican voter who wants the shutdown/Sequester/default stopped, and he may even vote for Mac-daddy since he’s such a government whore.

            1. I seem to recall that in his AG election ‘Coochi’ did well in Northern Virginia. Anyone here from Virginia who can confirm that? If so, this line that the region was destined to oppose him rings hollow to me.

            2. He was loosing before the shutdown, was he not?

              Yes, but don’t expect BCE to let facts get in his way.

              1. Likewise we should not expect you to acknowledge the fact that the lead has grown since the shutdown?

          3. Yes, he was losing before the shutdown. He was barely dragged across the finish line for AG because McDonnell was more popular. (Not that McDonnell is some libertarian dream– he’s a bipartisan business-friendly statist.)

            His only hope for winning is and was that TM is a terrible piece of work as well.

            He would have lost anyway.

          4. If McAuliffe wins, a big reason why will be because the current republican governor imposed big tax increases on everyone in the state.

            Republicans get crushed when they stupidly raise taxes. And with good reason: what fucking good is a republican who raises taxes?

            1. I’d love to agree, except that the same polls show that that bastard McDonnell would beat either of the two candidates on offer handily.

    2. I doubt it…

      Here in MA we are hurting on the health insurance front. Literally it’s making medical insurance almost unaffordable to the lower middle-class.

      And yet there has been no backlash.

      Like the time they made social security mandatory, expanded the income tax to hit everyone, banned alcohol, banned speed, instituted a peace-time draft, this isn’t going to unseat either the Democrats or the Republicans. The American electorate is dominated by factions who do not desire to live in a republic, but to live in a democratic dictatorship, with elections choosing a dictator every few years who then leads the ship of state with an iron hand. They throw the bums out whan the dictator acts unwisely or pisses them off, but these factions will never consider returning to a republican system.

      At this point it is Kabuki theater; each party that is out of power pretends to determinedly oppose the policies of the party in power, but when they get into power than institute a variation of those same policies. The swings of control do not reverse the rachet except in very rare circumstances. My guess is that the next Republican admin will work around the edges of PACA – reforming it, but it will never go away until the Fed Gov inevitably craters like its predecessor.

      1. This. De Tocqueville wins the thread.

      2. This is why the Democrats are so terrified of Obamacare being repealed or gutted. There has never been a social program that has been rolled back. The wrench has only gone one way. If obamacare is shown to be a failure and is repealed, it will change that attitude. A lot of other things will be up for a debate.

        Your post is exactly what the beltway establishment wants everyone to think. The American people are hopeless. They will never change. They will never learn. They will take any abuse dished out by government.

        What all oppressive governments do is tell their people change is hopeless and make sure that everyone thinks they are the only one who wants change. If you are the only one who objects, it is pretty stupid to try to do anything. The biggest danger to an oppressive government is the people realizing that everyone hates the government.

        Time will tell. But understand, that by having the attitude you do, you are enforcing the very myth that the government wants to enforce. They want everyone to believe that America is entirely made up of Tonys who are too stupid to know better and too greedy and weak to ever do anything to change this. Maybe it is. But one thing is for sure, believing it is, will make it so.

        1. -This is why the Democrats are so terrified of Obamacare being repealed or gutted. There has never been a social program that has been rolled back. The wrench has only gone one way. If obamacare is shown to be a failure and is repealed, it will change that attitude.

          I think you might be giving the Democrat Party too much credit. Their undying support for a law with increasingly dying support from the public is mostly about vanity: this is Obama’s (and the Democratic Congress that he had for a while) ‘legacy project.’ They cannot admit their ‘signature achievement’ is a total disaster.

        2. When it comes right down to it, government at all levels occupies 40% of the total economy. 50% of the populace are net recipients of government largess. The other 50% have a significant portion of their money flushed through the government system at some point or another. This is by design. It cannot be rolled back without serious financial injury to a lot of voting parties. I highly doubt it will be rolled back until the T-bond market goes to absolute shit, and at that point the great rebooting of America will/can begin.

          Too many people (not all obviously) either don’t see their prison bars or are actively profiting off the system.

        3. But understand, that by having the attitude you do, you are enforcing the very myth that the government wants to enforce.

          I need to get back to work, so I will be perforce brief.

          This is bullshit!

          If you were right, the Soviet Union and the United States would be forming the CoDominium about now.

          Mark my words, the Federal Government of the United States is doomed as its antecedent formed by the Articles of Confederation, and for the same reason: the economy cannot pay the taxes they need to keep the system going, and the currency debasement they must engage in to make the scheme work will create such economic dislocation that the system collapses.

          Our only hope lies that when the collapse leads to a revolt that turns to local control (aka American Revolution mk II) instead of a war over who would control a powerful central state (aka French Revolution mk II).

          And to laying the groundwork for that day we need to fight a cultural war, not a political one. The political fight will almost always be a rear-guard action covering a retreat.

          Far from being hopeless, I am doing my bit in the cultural war.

          1. It is not bullshit at all. The federal government exists in its present form and the establishment maintains its power by convincing people that there is nothing they can do to stop it.

            1. Please explain to me how it is going to be stopped before the T-Bond bomb goes off. There is no solution that does not involve cutting across the board; entitlements, military, discretionary. There are only a handful of people who will agree to cuts in all of those and there are even fewer that could politically survive it. It’s not the 90’s anymore, total debt is over 100% of GDP and future liabilities are huge and growing. The clock is ticking.

              Outside of fiscal collapse, the only solution that remains is the one that got us out of the Great Depression, namely being the last economy standing after a global war that wrecked the industrial capacity of everyone else.

              Now I need a drink. Is it 5pm somewhere?

              1. It won’t be stopped Scuffy. The T-Bond Bomb will go off and the resulting mess will bring drastic, unforeseen changes.

            2. That’s probably true. But a few weirdo libertarians observing that most citizens are pretty comfortable with that being the way things are is hardly a major contributor to the phenomenon.

        4. The bracero program was repealed, although that may not be what you had in mind as “social program”.

          There was very substantial deinstitutionaliz’n of psychiatric pts. Previous to that, heroin maintenance programs were discontinued.

          The GI Bill of Rights was allowed to expire.

      3. More or less true, but there’s no reason to cause it to happen faster, like with causing Obamacare to happen.

      4. If the ratchet is never reversed, how is it we have legal liquor, no draft, higher speed limits, and more people exempt from income taxes?

  9. I thought this was the Jounolist meme of last week.

  10. To quote a famous person:

    “What difference at this point, does it make?”

    Structural deficits are going to be with us until a better option than the dollar emerges on the world currency market. At that point, we’re fucked. We’re just the best looking turd in the punchbowl right now.

  11. The public pins the blame on the GOP for the shutdown by a 22-point margin, according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Favorability toward both the Republican party and its conservative wing, the Tea Party, are both at all-time lows for the poll.

    You’re. Still. Repeating. This. Shit. And it’s still meaningless bullshit. It still has no bearing on the MT’s and I’m tired of explaining why.

    Then again, anyone who thinks the media would be talking about the exchange fails if only government were operating normally is clearly an idiot. Yeah, the media would love to tell us about how the exchange websites are failing because they are ‘overwhelmed by demand’.

    Suderman: you are writing the same shitty unconvincing column over and over again. Just stop. Stop writing. You are so out of your depth it’s painful. Just take a 3-week vacation to pull your head out of your ass.

    1. Your comments are more unconvincing than his.

      You sound like Democrats convinced that passing Obamacare in 2009 wouldn’t possibly affect the midterms.

      1. OC was wildy unpopular. The shutdown is widely ignored.

        1. If the shutdown is “widely ignored,” then it’s pretty much impossible to use it for leverage to actually repeal Obamacare.

          It may be the case that it doesn’t widely change voter intentions– and it probably won’t change it by all that much, compared to default– but it doesn’t seem to be helping.

    2. I think the rest of your post is off the mark, but this:

      Then again, anyone who thinks the media would be talking about the exchange fails if only government were operating normally is clearly an idiot.

      is accurate.

      1. Yes. 100% true. But that’s a fact on the ground. You can’t just ignore it and whine about it when making your strategy.

        You can’t say, “Oh, but shutting down the government would work if only the media would cover it properly!” You have to figure out a strategy that works given the facts.

    3. It still has no bearing on the MT’s and I’m tired of explaining why.

      Is there a reason other than that American citizens are powered by cognitive dissonance and have the political awareness & attention span of a gnat?

  12. Yes, this was a doomed endeavor, but not by its very nature, but because congressional Republicans as a group lack the will and the finesse to pull it off.

    1. If they “had the will” it wouldn’t matter, since they wouldn’t have the public.

      The public, insane or not, apparently would prefer fighting on the debt ceiling. Or apparently would prefer that X happen without wanting tactic Y used to get it done, even though it’s impossible to get the Democrats to peacefully agree to it.

      1. A year from now, the shutdown won’t mean a thing to voters. It will be what the country is left with in its wake that they’ll be pulling the lever over. These polls are meaningless.

        1. And that’s what the Dems said in 2009 as they passed Obamacare.

          1. The shutdown barely affected anyone outside of a few federal workers and a bus of old tourists.

            Hundreds of millions of people’s health insurance costs have or are going to increase substantially.

            Big difference.

            1. The Dems are straining to make it affect as many people as possible, because they know that they can be super hardliners and refuse to compromise, and it will be blamed on Republicans.

              I still don’t see this theater as doing any good. The harm may indeed be limited, as memories will fade. But a more targeted strategy with a limited, achievable goal would have been better than incoherence.

  13. Looks like the plan to defund alt-text worked just swell.


    2. Ted Cruz sez “My smugness alone will destroy Obamacare.”

    3. Now I will accept the premise that they are domestic terrorists.

  14. I’m just gonna go kill myself, then.

    Suderman, I am disappoint.

  15. The public pins the blame on the GOP for the shutdown by a 22-point margin, according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Favorability toward both the Republican party and its conservative wing, the Tea Party, are both at all-time lows for the poll.

    Mr. Gloom and Doom. It’s as if Bob Dole has over taken Suderman’s mind. You know Nate Silver has skewered this poll right? And, yes, I gave him credit last year for accuracy, though I’d like to see what those internal Democratic polls were telling his that he is contractually obligated not to reveal.

    1. I didnt give him credit for accuracy, he was horribly, horribly off on KY and TN.

      He said Obama would gain significant vote share in both states.

    2. PJ Media was saying that 20% of that poll’s respondents worked for gov or had a family member who did. Nationally is 8%. Lots of slack in that number (had state, local and fed gov), but it may be a little off.

      1. It doesn’t matter. You look at an average of many polls. You can look at changes in polls rather than raw results.

        Dems are coming out of this better.

        1. Dems will always come out ahead on the question of cutting government. What is the FSA now, 47-50% of the US? What is the media dominated by, Team Blue?

          Conservatives and Libertarians are always going to fight up hill and against the odds. The battle has to be fought somewhere – at least some pea brains will see how Obama fights with Park Rangers and legalese on death benefits and see what a douche he is.

  16. The Doolittle raid? Doomed from the start. What was the USA thinking a few B-25s spending 30 seconds over Tokyo was going to accomplish? Just made the Japs mad.

    1. And later we nuked Japan from the moon. TWICE. Just to be sure.

      That’ll learn the little yellow bastards.

      *aside to rest of commentariat – what does Doolittle’s Raid? have to do with ERMAHGERD SHERTDERN!!11!?*

    2. The Doolittle raid ended in the US winning the war.

      What if the correct analogy for the bombing you’re cheering on is Pearl Harbor or 9/11? Just made the Americans mad.

      1. The doubling of premiums that Obamacare is forcing people to pay will make Americans mad. Not sure where it leads.

      2. The actual effectiveness of strategic bombing in either the European or Pacific theaters of war is highly dubious. While Doolittle’s raid made for good PR in the United States, bombing didn’t win the war. It did succeed in killing a huge number of civilians on both sides, though.

        1. Didn’t it give people confidence they could kill everyone in the country? If you do that, you win automatically, don’t you?

  17. What was the best alternative to this non-plan? Fully fund Obamacare and cave on the debt-ceiling? I don’t know. My feeling is that the internal polls on primary opposition for incumbents Republicans must be 90-10 against any more votes that can possibly be construed as “for” Obamacare. So talk about what the American People want, and that’s great, but realize that the 30% of registered republicans who vote in primaries hold just as much, if not more sway.

    In my own district, Allen Boyd cast one of the deciding votes for Obamacare in 2009 for the SEIU not supporting his primary opponent in the 2010 midterms. He won the primary but lost the election. But the point is that he was totally focused on the primary for his vote.

  18. The GOP knows something that Suderman does not. In midterms, they win when their base shows up. Overall popularity doesn’t matter because most people don’t vote in mid-terms. That’s what this was about for them. They did the same thing with the stimulus (taking an unpopular stance with general population, but loved by their base). How’d that work out in 2010?

    1. ^^this here

    2. Yeah. Remember when Obamacare passed and all of the smart people like Sudderman were telling us how this was going to ensure the Republicans had no chance in the coming midterms? How did that work out?

      1. Once people know what’s in Obamacare, it’s going to be wildly popular so said the people who pushed its implementation passed 2012 in order to prevent that election from being a referendum on it.

      2. Did Suderman actually say that?

    3. -In midterms, they win when their base shows up.

      Unless you give the Dem base a reason to show up too. When it started people here said ‘why should the GOP worry, the shutdown will only harm Dem constituencies?’ Well, that is why I said.

      1. Unless you give the Dem base a reason to show up too.

        A year from now no one but the most fanatical of Democrats is going to remember the shutdown and be outraged enough to vote.

        1. Ah, just like the Bushies said before the 2006 elections. “Don’t worry, we’ll get our base to turnout, the GOP always wins in midterms.”

    4. And how will those of us who are fiscally minded benefit from this?

      Do you think they’re going to rock the boat before the Presidential elections? Not a chance in hell.

    5. How’d that work in 1998?

  19. I’m just going to reiterate, for the umpteenth time, my suggestion for the GOP to ask for on the ACA.

    Allow high-deductible, catastrophic-only and hospital-only plans to qualify to avoid the penalty, for all age groups.
    That one teeny tiny change would make a big difference for a lot of people who are otherwise going to be compelled to buy expensive insurance plans that would force them to subsidize other people’s health care.
    Don’t delay the individual mandate. Just let individuals buy very minimal plans and not pay the penalty.

    1. It would make Obama’s “if you like your plan, you can keep it” lie much less of a lie, at least for me.

      1. Right, I’m already hearing lots of stories of people who HAD insurance, which should have been grandfathered in, who are being compelled to switch to “bronze” plans on the exchanges.

        Check this one out:

        I thought you might appreciate my rage after I came home just now with information from Kaiser about 2014.

        They “matched” my previous high-deductible plan to the CA Bronze HSA plan allowed under Obamacare. Here are the highlights:

        ? Deductible increasing from $4,000 to $4,500
        ? Annual out-of-pocket maximum increasing from $5,600 to $6,350

        But here’s the really fun part. My monthly premium is going from $302 to $625.73.

        And this is a 62 year old, mind you.

        1. Ive covered mine on here.

          The closest “bronze” plan involves an 80% increase.

          Fortunately, I can renew it Dec 1, and keep my current plan until end of Nov 2014, at only an 8% increase.

          1. My numbers are similar to his, deductible went up a bit, annual oop went up a bit, premium nearly doubled.

            But at least it covers me if I get pregnant!

            1. I’m sure Warty is willing to knock you up.

            2. Where’s the fetus gonna gestate? Are you gonna keep it in a box?

              1. Don’t you oppress robc

    2. Why would insurance lobbyists sign off on that, though?

      1. Maybe it would be the difference between a death spiral for everyone and a death spiral for everything EXCEPT high-deductible plans.

        1. I doubt that insurance execs believe that the ACA will lead to the death of their industry, regardless of what market advocates or lefties who foresee this as the first step toward single-payer think.

          More to the point, cutting huge amounts of income from the portion of their coerced customer base that was to pay for the disadvantage of taking on all pre-existing conditions would destroy the companies altogether.

          1. Wrong. They could simply stop selling anything except very high-deductible plans. Which would negate, in large measure, the pre-existing conditions exclusion. All the people with pre-existing conditions would be paying $10,000 out of pocket up front.

    3. On Democracy Underground last week they were complaining about 6400 hundred dollar deductibles before any benes kick in. Sounds like highway robbery to me.

    4. They ought to do that. Dems would hate it, because it would reduce the cost sharing– note how the young can buy catastrophic care, but those plans aren’t eligible for subsidy.

      The Dems just don’t see catastrophic and high-deductible plans as “true insurance,” which is crazy.

      1. Democrats have no idea what true insurance actually is. They think it’s some sort of mutual aid society.

        1. No, a mutual aid society wouldn’t be so bad.

          They think it’s “discounts” and first dollar aid and “the government,” meaning “the rich” if anyone paying.

          1. Mutual aid societies are also generally voluntary.

            One’s negotiating power is reduced somewhat when one is FORCED to join, though, eh?

            By compelling healthier people to join the “pool” they make it impossible for healthy people to negotiate rates that are fair to them.

            It’s a gang of decrepit cripples chaining the one healthy person in the lifeboat to the oar. All the while insisting he’s not entitled to a greater share of the pirate loot.

        2. The Democrats know, they just want to call it insurance because it sounds better than Transfer Payment.

    5. I think they should put all the criticism on the facts that so many groups are getting exemptions and that they employer mandate was delayed, and argue the individual mandate should also be delayed and exemptions ended. They should sell it as a ‘fairness’ issue. Meanwhile the base will be motivated by the more general and fundamental awfulness of the law.

      Of course, they have thrown that away now, since they anything they say now will be said to be just part of their goal of repeal or defunding it.

      1. That’s too abstract of a lot of people. Allowing people to buy cheaper plans taps directly into the anger many people are feeling over premium increases.
        A lot of people, right now, are getting notifications of premium hikes and are seeing the true cost of insurance on the exchanges.

    6. your idea does not suck

      1. Yeah, someone finally pays it some fucking attention too.

        I’ve been saying this shit for MONTHS, and I hardly ever get a response.

    7. This is a great idea, which is why the GOP will never implement it.

  20. Obviously Suderman should have a chat with Mr. Churchill. Honestly I was surprised the ‘pubs had the nerve to go through with the shutdown. And I, for one, approve of it. We are heading down an unsustainable path…. will we get there? Oh yes, it’s far too late. But there’s no point of going down with the ship without a fight.

    1. Libertarianism is about being agreeable and liked at the cocktail circuit.

      1. Libertarianism is about complaining as shrilly as possible, while hastening the path of socialism.

  21. Another reason the GOP approach has been good:


    It mean, not as much discord as I would prefer, but watching the infighting over the golden apple has been sweet.

  22. Hey everyone! The Tigers won last night!

    Ima go back to work…see ya

  23. one last point before I head off to dinner – Obama’s popularity isn’t exactly going up right now. We’ll see how this all ends up, but an unpopular president isn’t going to suddenly get a big surge of voters for the party he represents. At least that’s my thinking.

    ta-da! Off I go to enjoy a good steak with some homebrew.

    1. Enjoying a pale ale with 100% home grown hops right now.

      1. It must be 5 pm somewhere. I salute you!

        Better than depressing USA sinks further talk on a Friday.

        1. screw 5…its 4 pm somewhere.

          1. I’ll drink to that…in 60 min

      2. Somehow, I just noticed this post. Sir, you are living the dream. I have the day off, and enjoying some Dogfish Head 90 Minute.

    2. Yeah, he and his party are diving in the polls, too. They’re winning what, exactly?

      GOP cleans up in 2014 for not being the other guys. This standoff, if anything, helps that. It certainly doesn’t hurt it, because the economy will be as bad or worse for the election.

      1. They’re doing better in polls that indicate congressional voting preference. Large shifts in those polls.

        Any concerns about bias there doesn’t matter, since we’re only talking changes in intention.

        1. Last I looked, GOP has a 16% advantage on the general ballot amongst independents even after this dust up. Sounds just like 1995 with the disinformation and shrieking that goes on anytime some members of the GOP try to do the right time.

          1. the right thing.

          2. GOP always has to win independents by a lot to win an election. There are more registered Democrats and Democratic partisans. (They just don’t tend to show up as well in midterms.)

            16% isn’t that big a number.

            1. That’s silly, Nick Gillespie has been pointing out for years that independents now outstrip Democrats and Republicans in registering.

              1. I loved that article from the Mercury News on the two dipshits suprised by their huge cost increases under O-care. I think the quote was…they are independents who helped get Obama elected and re-elected.

                Everybody is an independent now. Doesn’t mean shit, but if you have 16 point advantage in polls it might mean something.

        2. Also, Steve Lonegan is 6% ahead in Jersey, coming from behind by a huge margin. If the GOP was really in trouble that election would reflect it.

          1. Smaller lead, yes, as the race gets closer. I don’t believe I’ve seen a poll with Lonegan ahead by 6% though.

            1. Wasn’t he down by 20, 30 points fairly recently? This is NJ – he shouldn’t be in play at all.

              1. Jersey has a competitive race between a pro-business left centrist democrat and a Republican whom I don’t much about but he has no problem bringing Palin to campaign for him, so certainly not a Rockefeller centrist, whereas, in NYC a Sandinista is the runaway popular candidate who is going to blow it out.

                New Jersey, less insane than NYC.

      2. Rosy partisan spin and cynical political calculus in one small post.

        Gotta love independent-minded freethinking idealist libertarians.

  24. How many battles did General Giap win? Yet I can get a bowl of pho or a bahn mi at over a dozen places within 5 miles of my house.

    1. How many battles did General Tso win?

      1. The one that matters the most, the one for my tummy which is the best way to my heart.

  25. Very telling:

    States with more people on welfare than are working.


    Add to that the number of publicly employed tax moochers versus private sector, you would have a collapse in the Mid Atlantic too.

    1. I’d like to thank Michigan for defying expectations and ‘wtf?’ to South Carolina for soiling the good name.

  26. What we need more than all of these political theatrics is a movement in this country to force the government to live within its means. I know there’s a majority that would oppose that, but even a good minority pushing for it might achieve something. Just forcing a balanced budget alone would solve some serious problems.

    1. We need it. But I don’t think we’re going to get it, at least not in time.

    2. I thought you guys were against force?

      1. Against the initiation of force. Force has already been deployed in the collection of monies from the people and their future children.

        1. Well shit, if you can justify undemocratically forcing an unpopular political regime on 300 million people because you were taxed once, what does that mean I get to do?

          1. I have no right to force over another person, only force in defending myself. It is you and your ilk who feel that the majority should rule without regard to the individual, that the collective gets to decide what’s best for everyone.

            1. Even I’m tired of this conversation.

              Sometimes collective decisions have to be made and collective actions taken. It’s the way the human species works. You describe a system that’s more fair than majority rules (with protections for minorities), I’m all ears. Until then you’re just regurgitating platitudes.

              1. Small miracles.

              2. There is no such thing as a collective decision or collective action. It is just one group of people forcing their decisions and actions on another.

                1. Groups making decisions = collective decision making.

                  1. You describe a system that’s more fair than majority rules (with protections for minorities), I’m all ears.

                    You left out the part about limited, enumerated powers.

    3. The markets will force it on the government eventually.

      1. By then, we’re going to be in all sorts of trouble.

        There’s really no rational argument against a balanced budget. Just irrational ones.

        1. Except those made by the only major school of economics to be vindicated by evidence and history.

          1. Now you’re just being funny.

          2. If by “evidence and history” you mean “wishful thinking by chumps like me” then yes, absolutely.

            Fuck off, sockpuppet.

          3. What school of economics is that? Cause we don’t, and have never, actually practiced Keynesian theory.


        2. Yes ProL, there will be major dislocations and upheaval. It will be the worst disaster in the history of the world. Abandoning reason for madness has that effect.

  27. We’re more than a year out from the midterm elections. Current polling means damned near next to nothing on that score.

    I realize that sort of short circuits the “horse race” aspect of politics which is the political media’s heroin, but it’s true nonetheless.

    1. Yes, let’s wait for polling three months from now to see whether the effect of the shutdown have a permanent effect on polling — I suspect not.

  28. I fail to see why about 95% of you are concerned to the point of hysteria about the GOP’s slip in popularity.

    Where is the fucking libertarian site? I will happily go there if someone will direct me.

    1. I fail to see why about 95% of you are concerned to the point of hysteria about the GOP’s slip in popularity.

      Tony, halp me out here. Could you give me the names of the 95% of commenters that are freaking out?

      Because I don’t see it.

      I’m sure you are right, being all scientifical and all. So, who is freaked out?

      1. Hysteria isn’t the right word. Delusion is better.

        1. You didn’t answer the question.

          1. Haven’t read every post but a skim has revealed people treating Bo Cara like they normally treat me for daring to suggest that this shutdown episode might just be politically bad for Republicans, just as the polling suggests.

            1. Tony, do us a favor!

              FAA regulations limit the speed of objects close to the ground to avoid damaging property with Sonic booms and the like.

              Could you please move the goalposts at subsonic speeds?


            2. Still waiting.

              1. Hold your breath.

          2. We seem to be getting more people who think it’s a valid form argumentation to Argue from Impressions. They all have the “impression” or “sense” that Reason or its Commentariat are in some way “biased” or “engaged in groupthink”. Then when asked to provide specific examples, they balk. Of course, this is just an elevation of confirmation bias on *their* part, wherein they read those comments that seem negative to their “side” and disregard the rest.

            1. Fucking ‘A is Q’ camp.

      2. This sounds vaguely familiar…

    2. Maybe on this battle – forcing changes or death to O-care and getting real spending cuts the interests of Team Red and Libertarians align.

      1. Your fake interests and manufactured obsessions always align because you consume the same media.

        1. Glad you know me so well you have my number.

  29. Obama insists that he won’t sign anything that touches Obamacare, and his veto cannot be overridden at this point. Whether the GOP should have started with the one year repeal plan instead of the defund strategy is a moot point.

    If the Republicans actually proposed specific policy goals (that reduces the size of government) and shut down the government to achieve them, the public’s opinion of such strategy would still be sour, if not more. They can sort of mess with Obamacare because it’s so dang unpopular, and opposing it actually delivered results in the past. They’re not going to even breathe on medicare, defense, subsidies, etc.

    This is still an ideological battle. Obama’s base don’t give a crap about closed monuments. Just look at those who are tearing down the barricades, they’re almost all white. NONE of my Obama loving friends have purchased insurance. ZERO. No, they weren’t blocked by glitches. They’re just not going to buy them. How many of your liberals friends even bothered to check out the exchange, much less buy insurance? But they love Obama, so they’re still playing team games.

    Somewhere down the road, the negative effects of ACA will stop being theoretical. The GOP will have to readjust their strategy accordingly.

  30. Well….DUH!

  31. This was not the optimal strategy for repeal. It was still worth trying — it places the GOP even more firmly in the anti-ObamaCare camp than ever before (crucial for the midterms when most Americans will have a good deal of familiarity with the law and its effects), and by and large it will have little effect on their popularity. Federal employment is highly localized around the capitol and NOVA + Maryland; it will have a marginal impact on the gubernatorial race and perhaps the Congressional midterms in that area — but otherwise not so much, I suspect.

    They tried it; it didn’t work — Suderman is nonetheless being hyperbolic in his denunciations. Restore funding and get on with another strategy.

    1. What about a strategy that includes a plan for dealing with the healthcare cost crisis in this country?

      1. Sure. Let’s start with people actually seeing what they pay for preventative and routine care and things like pregnancy. The stuff that can be planned for. Maybe try to shift the insurance model we have away from covering everything having to do with medical care and towards insuring against large unexpected costs.

        1. Counterproposal: insurance companies are required to provide basic coverage for everyone and aren’t allowed to make a profit on these plans. Fix all the misplaced food subsidies and land-use priorities that have made the country fat and diabetic.

          1. insurance companies are required to provide basic coverage for everyone and aren’t allowed to make a profit on these plans.

            Zeb’s proposals have the merit of actually addressing the incentives in play. How will forcing insurers to undertake risk without (explicit) reward help either insurers or consumers? Answer: it won’t, because the insurers will do everything possible to ensure that the product they are forced to provide (and that government obliges consumers to purchase) will be as low-cost to them as possible.

            1. I was describing the program they have in Switzerland, which has been characterized as “market-based” to me on these boards.

              I’d prefer a simple single-payer system with no private insurers involved at all.

          2. Counter-counterproposal:

            Fuck off, sockpuppet.

            1. After careful consideration, no. But thanks for the input. Maybe next time.

      2. Offtopic, but as it so happens this crisis appears to have been exacerbated by the ACA insofar as it compels people to spend more than double what they would have spent in the law’s absence for little benefit to themselves.

    2. There really aren’t any good strategies going forward. Keeping the Senate and presidency in Dem hands last time around really fucked this country. Elections DO have consequences, at least so long as they still let us have elections.

      Suderman certainly did his part by pushing the “Romney = Obama” narrative at every turn, and the other Reason writers finished the job by identifying Paul Ryan with Todd Akin.

  32. Suderman’s points here were word-for-word said by John McCain on the TV News tonight. It’s almost like they are on a RINOlist or something.

  33. “What started out as an impossible fantasy of striking a big blow against Obamacare may end up harming critics of the law and their cause more than it helps.”

    Let’s hope so. There’s none more deserving.

    1. The audacity of the shameless never fails to inspire visions of corporal punishment.

      CommieCare Explained For Dummies: Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRdLpem-AAs

  34. Who Shut Down the Government? by Thomas Sowell

    “…Since we cannot read minds, we cannot say who ? if anybody ? “wants to shut down the government.” But we do know who had the option to keep the government running and chose not to. The money voted by the House of Representatives covered everything that the government does, except for ObamaCare. The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for ObamaCare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he wants a “clean” bill from the House of Representatives, and some in the media keep repeating the word “clean” like a mantra. But what is unclean about not giving Harry Reid everything he wants?
    If Senator Reid and President Obama refuse to accept the money required to run the government, because it leaves out the money they want to run ObamaCare, that is their right. But that is also their responsibility…”

  35. NBC always pays more for what they want a poll to say:

    Students on Liberal Colorado Campus Blame Obama for the Shutdown

  36. Yes, is was doomed from the start but also necessary in view of why dozens of House and Senate Republicans were elected in 2010. The fight will go on to the 2014 election and Republicans will win partly based on this effort.

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