Ted Cruz and House Republicans are teaming up to hand the White House to Democrats in 2016 by threatening to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood.
In a Wednesday interview, Cruz said the GOP should go as hard as it can to block funding for Planned Parenthood, including the same strategy he tried to use to defund Obamacare in 2013: force the issue by blocking funding in a government spending bill that must pass by Sept. 30.
Asked whether he would support such a maneuver again, Cruz replied: “I would support any and all legislative efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. We do not need a legislative show-vote.”
On the other side of the Capitol, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said dozens of House Republicans will back his effort to oppose any spending bill — whether a continuing resolution stopgap or longer-term funding package — that includes any money for Planned Parenthood.
“This is one of those line-in-the-sand type of issues,” Mulvaney said Wednesday. “Every time we say we don’t want to spend money on something, the answer is it will provoke a shutdown.”
The crew of Republican ideologues that caused the last government shutdown is prepared to do the same thing with the same result. Defunding Planned Parenthood is not a winning issue for Republicans. In fact, if Cruz takes the Republican Party down this path they can kiss the 2016 election goodbye.
Cruz has taken the wrong lesson from the 2013 shutdown. Republicans have deluded themselves into believing that there will be no consequences for the shutting down the government again. The electorate will be exponentially bigger in 2016, and it will be more Democratic. Republicans are already suffering from a huge gender gap with women voters, but if Cruz and Republicans shut down the government, they will be sending a message to women that their health does not matter.
Republicans are preparing to pander to a tiny segment of extremists in a party base that is already too small to win a presidential election on its own. Cruz is leading the Republican Party off the cliff and down a path to defeat in a desperate attempt to boost his flatlining presidential campaign.
In other words, Ted Cruz is willing to shut down the government if that is what it will take to get publicity for his presidential campaign.