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Monday, September 26, 2016

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is making the GOP base an offer they cannot resist.

“If we can get 41 Republicans in the Senate to stand together, or 218 Republicans in the House to stand together, we can successfully defund Obamacare on September 30,” the junior senator from Texas keeps saying over and over, with his message being amplified by his pals in the Heritage Foundation.

With just 41 senators we can overturn the signature achievement of a president who was just re-elected by five million votes!

It’s factually inaccurate, of course.

All 41 Republicans can do is prevent the Senate from passing a continuing resolution to keep the government open. This would trigger a government shutdown and at least a slight case of post-traumatic stress disorder for those who remember how the shutdowns during the 1990s ended up in big wins for President Clinton.

The worst part about Cruz’s campaign is that it’s a win/win for Cruz, who knows he’s going to lose, explains The Washington Examiner‘s Byron York:

They know they won’t succeed. Democrats, with 54 votes, have enough to pass anything that requires a simple majority, and won’t have much trouble getting to a filibuster-proof 60 votes, either. “I could count six or seven Republicans who would vote for full funding of the continuing resolution without breaking a sweat,” says one Senate aide who supports defunding. “So they’re going to get to 60.”

But that’s just the discretionary part of Obamacare. The far bigger portions of the program, including the billions and billions of dollars in subsidies that will start going to Americans on Jan. 1, are mandatory spending, an entitlement funded by an automatic appropriation which is written into law and runs without further congressional action. To change that, Congress would have to change Obamacare.

In the Senate, that would take 67 votes — the amount needed to overcome a guaranteed presidential veto. If the 46 Senate Republicans voted unanimously to end the Obamacare entitlement, they would have to persuade 21 Democrats to go along.

Freedomwork’s Dean Clancy objects to this argument and says that defunding could simply be added to a continuing resolution, which would only need to pass the Senate, likely with 60 votes.

This is why Oklahoma’s Republican senator, Tom Coburn, has dismissed the ploy as “dishonest” and “hype.” Republican pundits like Ramesh Ponnuru have broken down why the strategy/suicide pact would fail.

But Cruz doesn’t care. He wins either way.

If he somehow gets Republicans to go along with him, he’s a hero to the base even if when it eventually fails it costs Republicans seats in Congress — the good fight is always worth it! If Republicans refuse to indulge him, he sets himself apart as the Tea Partier of all Tea Partiers, positioning himself for 2016 as the hero of the far right.

Republicans have created a vacuum with what  The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent and MSNBC’s Steve Benen call “sabotage governing.” The party’s “anarchists,” as New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait calls them, have no interest in doing anything that gives the appearance of legitimizing the president. Thus whoever can make the most noise and create the most storylines to star in, wins.

Republican politics is now professional wrestling, with the only real damage being done to working people who are suffering because their elected officials refuse to govern.

Other points:

Another Grand Bargain for the GOP to Reject
The president has laid out a proposal to try win infrastructure spending from the GOP, who have already rejected it.

War on Women, Part II
The Nation’s Jessica Valenti explains why the GOP’s renewed focus on abortion won’t work.

Big GOP Donors Want Immigration Reform
But they wanted a Grand Bargain, too.

The GOP 2016 Primary is Like NCAA Brackets
The Week‘s Matt K. Lewis names the seeds and underestimates Scott Walker.

NSA Reform is Coming
The surprisingly close vote to defund the spy agency has improved hopes for reform, it seems.

What are you reading? What’s on your mind?

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com

  • elw

    Republicans have a short memory, do not study history and always underestimate the size and power of their opposition. Their time wasting grand standing to repeal Obamacare will prove nothing to most American voters. If it would, they would have won the last election. Cruz is not an American hero to anyone but the very narrow and low numbers of radical Conservatives to whom he is talking. Continued attempts to repeal or defund Obamacare will not make it a “train wreck;” it only shows most voters that Republicans like Cruz are more interested in their own wellbeing than the people who gave him them votes he needed to win there elections. So I say it is a Suicide Pact.

  • docb

    There are no republicans..these are tea bagger childish trolls who have not a clue as to how to ‘legislate’ nor any desire to do so…They are only there to obstruct and lie to the Americans.

  • 4sanity4all

    Ted Cruz disgusts me. He has such an overblown ego, that he thinks he knows better than the millions who elected, and support President Obama. Cruz’s sick obsession with making the President look bad has made him unable to understand that millions of Americans need, and want, what the Affordable Care Act will do for them. Before it we had no chance at getting medical care that we could afford. I, and millions of others, are longing for the day the ACA will take effect and the premiums we pay will actually get us some health care. I guess Ted Cruz has no pre-existing conditions that are not covered, I guess he has not been out of work and longed for a jobs bill to be passed. I guess he never needed food stamps to feed his kids because his employer paid him shamefully low wages. So, he smugly goes on, trampling the hopes and dreams of Americans who are sick of his shameless pandering to the money boys who fund his lunacy. He is making a name for himself, alright. A name that the censors would never permit me to post here.