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August 02, 2013

Krauthammer: A Government Shutdown To Defund ObamaCare Is "Nuts"

Since Krauthammer is a psychiatrist, I guess "nuts" is an official diagnosis.

Led by Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, the GOP insurgents are threatening to shut down the government on Oct. 1 if the stopgap funding bill contains money for Obamacare.

This is nuts. The president will never sign a bill defunding the singular achievement of his presidency. Especially when he has control of the Senate. Especially when, though a narrow 51 percent majority of Americans disapproves of Obamacare, only 36 percent favors repeal. President Obama so knows he’ll win any shutdown showdown that he’s practically goading the Republicans into trying.

Never make a threat on which you are not prepared to deliver. Every fiscal showdown has redounded against the Republicans. The first, in 1995, effectively marked the end of the Gingrich revolution. The latest, last December, led to a last-minute Republican cave that humiliated the GOP and did nothing to stop the tax hike it so strongly opposed.

We discussed this on the podcast last night.

I really don't think there's a good answer. I don't see how the GOP will be able to force the Democrats to repeal ObamaCare. Remember, it's not just defunding the operations budget that will be in the CR, it's rewriting the Affordable Care Act to remove the entitlement spending that's already law.

The reality is the Democrats and the media (BIRM) will be united in the "GOP is killing old people! Parks are closing! Puppies are going hungry!" and the GOP will be fractured. There are plenty of Republicans who don't want to keep the sequester in place for domestic discretionary spending. Do you really think they will hold firm in the face of the onslaught that will come their way? How many people with pre-existing conditions will be paraded out as examples of who the GOP IS TRYING TO KILL!?

One possible outcome would be a year long delay to match the delay in the employer mandate His Majesty has already decreed. The problem with that is, we'll be right back here in a year. Even if it you push it to 2015 in the hopes of the GOP winning the Senate, what good does that do? There won't be a GOP veto proof majority and Obama will never sign a repeal. It's just not going to happen.

The other downside to a delay is we know the system isn't going to be ready to go in 6 months but they might be able to cobble something together in 18 months. If ObamaCare has to happen, don't we want it to be as bad as can be? Of course, that presumes the next step after "OMG it's terrible!" isn't, "well, that just means we need single payer!". My prediction is that's exactly what the next step would be.

We're in a bind with no useful answer. ObamaCare is going to go into full force come January 1st whether the GOP makes a stand or not. Our fate was settled in November of 2008 and any hope was lost in 2012.

The question isn't how to undo ObamaCare it's, how do we want to be seen as the last, useless shot is fired?

All I can think of is this scene from A Lion in Winter...

Prince Richard: [the sons - in the dungeon - think they hear Henry approach] He's here. He'll get no satisfaction out of me. He isn't going to see me beg.

Prince Geoffrey: My you chivalric fool... as if the way one fell down mattered.

Prince Richard: When the fall is all there is, it matters.

I'm not sure I agree but make no mistake, in the end that's what this debate is about.

All that said, on balance a shutdown is the better way to go. While it's 99.99% doomed to fail, who knows maybe "and then a miracle happened" will be the result. We don't even have that .01% chance if the GOP just passes a CR and calls it a day.

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posted by DrewM. at 11:54 AM

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