Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) needs conservatives to believe that shutting down the government to defund Obamacare will not hurt the Republican Party.
“The sort of cocktail chatter wisdom that, ‘Oh, the shutdown was a disaster for Republicans,’ is not borne out by the data,” the Tea Partying senator said last month.
If Republicans don’t buy his premise, then they might figure out that Cruz’s campaign to smear his colleagues as “the surrender caucus” and paint anyone who votes to keep the government open as an Obamacare lover is a blatant, reckless fundraising scheme for his 2016 presidential campaign.
In an effort to support Cruz and make it seem as if closing the government down to stop tens of millions of Americans from getting health care is a smart move, the political wing of the Heritage Foundation released a poll that they said proved Republicans should not fear a government shutdown.
“Americans — including 57 percent of independents in ten critical congressional districts — favor defunding Obamacare,” said Michael Needham, the CEO of Heritage Action. “House Republicans should be much more concerned with the fallout of failing to defund Obamacare than with the imaginary fallout of doing so.”
Salon‘s Alex Seitz-Wald took a closer look at that poll and found that the results actually prove that Obamacare is popular:
What Needham fails to mention, however, is that even this push poll that dramatically oversamples Republicans finds respondents are more likely to say that the Affordable Care Act should be kept than scrapped — and that a plurality would blame Republicans if the government were to shut down.
Here’s the question that Heritage Action was relying on to prove that people really want a shutdown:
IN ORDER TO GET PRESIDENT OBAMA TO AGREE TO AT LEAST HAVE A “TIME OUT” ON IMPLEMENTING THE HEALTH CARE LAW AND ITS FULL EFFECTS, WOULD YOU APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE OF A TEMPORARY SLOWDOWN IN NON-ESSENTIAL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS, WHICH STILL LEFT ALL ESSENTIAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES RUNNING?
“Who could possibly be against that?” Slate‘s Dave Weigel asks.
Well, maybe the tens of millions of people who will get health insurance on January 1, 2014. And probably the president of the United States, who risked his presidency to pass those reforms and just won re-election by 5 million votes.
But Weigel’s point is still a good one: What Republican would say “no” when asked, “In a perfect world with no consequences, would you like to get rid of a law that taxes the rich and corporations to help working families afford health care?” Unfortunately, not many.
As Seitz-Wald points out, even Heritage Action’s skewed poll of Republican districts found that 52 percent of respondents wanted to move forward with the implementation of Obamacare.
However, what the majority of Americans want doesn’t concern many Republicans right now.