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Sunday, December 4, 2016

In the August of 2009, as Congress took its August recess, the newly formed Tea Party swarmed townhalls across the nation to yell things at Democrats who were supporting health care reform. These activists were armed with questions and strategies to unnerve the representatives, by groups like the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and the then-Dick-Armey-led FreedomWorks.

Almost exactly four years later, the Tea Party has used those same tactics on Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC), the author of more than a dozen bills to repeal Obamacare.

These activists want Pittenger to join with Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) who — from their perches of two of the safest seats in the Senate — want to shut the government down in order to convince President Obama to defund his signature legislative accomplishment.

Cruz doesn’t buy the argument that government shutdowns hurt Republicans in 1995 and 1996, and he thinks that closing the government down over an issue most Americans assumed was decided in the last election will be no bigger a deal than government offices closing for the weekend.

Many Republican insiders, including Ramesh Ponnuru and Charles Krauthammer, disagree.

Robert Pittenger

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