The big Republican plan to shutdown the government unless Obamacare is defunded is already backfiring and setting up the GOP for complete failure in 2014.
Ramesh Ponnuru of Bloomberg warned Republicans to drop their plan to defund Obamacare by shutting down the government, “Conservatives on Capitol Hill think they have a chance to strike a mortal blow against President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul this fall. If their plan goes forward, however, it will backfire. The plan is to oppose any bill to fund the government or increase the debt limit that also provides money for putting the health-care law in place. Because Republicans control the House, Democrats can’t continue borrowing or paying for government operations without Republican support. So, conservatives say, Republicans should insist on defunding Obamacare as the price of that support.”
Ponnuru is also a senior editor at the National Review, who wants Obamacare gone, but he can see the political disaster that the plan to oppose all funding bills unless the ACA is defunded would bring on to the Republican Party. This move would backfire on Republicans because the public would side with Obama and the Democrats. They would definitely blame the party that has spent nearly every second of the past two years obstructing everything, and the biggest reason of all that this would fail is that conservatives and Republicans have overestimated the popular appeal of repealing Obamacare.
Republicans see poll numbers that suggest that the country supports repealing the ACA, and assume that this should be their number one issue. Their problem is that repealing Obamacare isn’t the issue that people care most about. Since the economic collapse of 2008, the issues that has mattered most in every poll where they was asked about have been jobs and the economy.
In a recent National Journal poll, healthcare reform was listed as the third most important issue in the 2014 elections behind the economy and social issues (same sex marriage, abortion, etc.) Only 4% of Democrats said that it was the most important issue, compared to 20% of Republicans. It is clear that the Republican plan to shut down the government or cause a federal default unless Obamacare is defunded is more Republican preaching to the choir.
If Republicans go down this path, it will be a complete and utter disaster for them. They will have shutdown the government over an issue that isn’t a top priority for the American people. It seems like the only people who sit around worrying about Obamacare everyday are House Republicans and Fox News watchers. As long as Republicans keep ignoring the economy, Democrats win.
The rest of the country wants Republicans to work with Obama to improve the economy. Republicans will not only be blamed for shutting down the government, but they will have shutdown the government and hurt millions of people over an issue that is only a top priority for their base.
This last gasp strategy of shutting down the government to stop the ACA is already dividing Republicans. There are many on the right who are warning their party not to do this. Republican Sen. Richard Burr called Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) plan to shutdown the government unless Obamacare is defunded the dumbest idea that he has ever heard for a reason. It is an idea that is completely destined to fail.
The politics of this are bad. The fallout from following through on this would be worse, and it looks like House Republicans have found a new way to cost their party the 2014 election.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association