Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Most Republicans in Congress agree on one thing: Obamacare needs to go. How to get rid of the health care law, however, is a bit more complicated.

The GOP is split between those who believe the sole way to combat The Affordable Care Act is by opposing all fall spending bills that contain funding for the law—resulting in a government shutdown – and those who believe in any strategy that will not involve such extreme action.

Leading the government shutdown movement is Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), arguing: “If you fund this thing, you own it.” In Lee’s world, Republicans who do not believe closing the government is the appropriate measure to combat the Affordable Care Act are automatic backers of the law.

Lee’s intricate plan involves the GOP-controlled House passing a bill funding the government, which would contain a rider from Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) that would defund the Affordable Care Act — and leaving the ultimate decision to shut down the government or pass the bill with that rider included up to Senate Democrats.

“Would they choose to shut down government? Or do the right thing?” Lee asked of Senate Democrats.

This is a plan that Republican political consultant Karl Rove quickly rejected. According to Politico, Rove “concluded Lee’s effort would backfire and be a replay of 1995, a government shutdown often blamed on the GOP.”

Still, Lee and other Tea Party lawmakers, including Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), believe a government shutdown is the only option. Lee referred to any strategy besides his as an example of Republicans “caving.”

Rove warned, “This is the one strategy, the one tactic that might be able to guarantee that the Democrats pick up seats in the Congress in 2014.”

Rove’s comment echoed a similar thought from Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who called the effort “self-defeating.” Other Republican leaders have termed it “silly” and “stupid.”

According to the Washington Post, several GOP leaders have realized that Rove’s approach may not be an effective way to prevent the government shutdown. Publicly condemning the strategy can easily backfire; tackling it openly, as Rove did, has already resulted in those in favor of the shutdown painting its opponents as scared and weak Obamacare backers, not willing to “defeat Obama tyranny.”

The Rove-Lee debate on Sean Hannity’s radio show proved that even with Rove pointing out just how ineffective, counterproductive and unnecessary a government shutdown would be, Lee’s position won’t change; instead, it grows more steadfast. Rove’s words serve as Lee’s evidence that the Republican Party is too “weak-kneed” to make a move against the president, and the only way to prove to Rove and other GOP leaders that they are actually impeding the Republican Party, rather than strengthening it, is, perhaps, to call for a government shutdown.

As long as Republican leaders fight publicly, they provide those in favor of the shutdown their greatest argument: Republican leadership is weak, and it’s time to take a stronger and more combative stance against Obamacare, even if it means closing down the government. Suddenly, a shutdown is seen as the ultimate measure of GOP loyalty and leadership.

The government shutdown has become more than just a position on Obamacare; it is a symbol of defiance between GOP lawmakers.

If Rove — or any Republican, for that matter — keeps  publicly calling out the strategy’s obvious idiocy, he is just pushing his more conservative counterparts in Congress to go through with the effort.

Because of this, several GOP leaders have begun to lobby House Republicans privately, rather than openly bash their strategy.

National Review’s Robert Costa reported that, “House insiders say Boehner and Cantor had talked much of their conference away from the edge,” and Republicans are “now confident that House Republicans will not tread into a shutdown battle with the Obama White House.”

Just a week ago, Rubio argued that the government shutdown was “no longer an ideological thing,” and he’s right. Now it is a deeper split in the already divided GOP.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • charleo1

    The way I see things is, if you’re not angry at the T-party, and it’s gutless GOP
    string alongs in Congress, you’re not paying close enough attention. “You must
    be willing to kill the hostage.” So says one GOP Congressman, speaking to a
    member of his Party’s radical right, at a town hall meeting last week. Not so,
    says Senator Mike Lee. One of a number of rising thugs, and abductor advocates
    of the the credo that says, kidnappers do not kill hostages by their own volition.
    But, are forced to do so, by a lack of cooperation, and refusals to meet clearly spelled out demands. That’s right! Charles, and Ann Lindbergh, killed their own
    baby, according to Senator Lee. The T-party thinks they are going to shut down
    the government, or cause a default on U.S. debt, in order to force President
    Obama to nullify his own signature legislation. This is the same group who’s heads practically explode at the very mention of the government appropriating funds for the food stamp program. Why? Because they are so obsessively concerned about government spending. Really? But, unconcerned about the trillions it would cost the U.S. Government to once again bring a stricken economy back to life, after a forced default on the Nation’s debt? Repercussions of such an act, would of course be catastrophic, and world wide. So important is the U.S. economy to the rest of the world, The consequences of such an event caused by these, good for nothing/care for nothing, fanatics, would be so unprecedented, and complex. We have no models to predict with any certainty what harm of that kind of, strap a bomb to your body, politics would cause. But the words economic devastation, for lack of a better term, will suffice for now.

  • Dominick Vila

    Representatives Lee, Cruz and Rubio are acting like a bunch of immature teenagers willing to do anything if they don’t get their way. Their opposition to the Affordable Care Act would have legitimacy if they would offer a better alternative to it, but thus far the only thing they have said is we don’t like it and anyone that is willing to pass a budget to keep the government running and meet our obligations is, by default, a traitor who must be punished. They are physically in Congress – or vacationing as is the case – but mentally they are still in Junior High.
    Countries rely on credit and trade to survive, and we are not an exception to that rule. Perhaps they are too obtuse to understand the damage they are doing to our international credibility and to our economy, or they understand it and don’t care because they believe the political benefits associated with opposing something that the Republican rank and file hate is the way to go and the ticket to higher office, but if that is what is in their little brains I am afraid they are very – very – wrong. You don’t impress mainstream Americans and get a plurality of our votes by threatening chaos. This may surprise the likes of Lee, Rubio and Cruz, but what most Americans want is solutions, not threats or disruption of the economic progress that should be evident to everyone by now.

    • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

      Or if they have no better alternative than work with Democrats to improve the program and make it work for everyone.

    • Allan Richardson

      No, most teenagers are MUCH more mature than that.

      • Dominick Vila

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to insult young teens…

  • Budjob

    Just one comment; WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY,AND ALL THE ASSHOLES IN D.C.???? Please excuse me for shouting,it is nothing but sheer frustration on my behalf.I donned a uniform and volunteered three years of my life to defend this!!?? I have recently taken down my American flag,folded it up,and placed it in my closet.I will not raise it again until the assault on the American people is halted.
    Fascism in this once great country has to cease!!

    • geoelb

      Now is the time to display the flag proudly for what it stands for. Don’t cave in to “them”.

  • FT66

    We don’t choose the law to like and dislike. Laws are put in order to discipline people. There is no any single law which people are fond of. Not at all. Those few from republican side who dislike the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare”, am afraid to say they will be forced to swallow the bitter pill of it. The law was not made only for them. It was made for the entire nation, some will like it and benefit from it, some will see it in a different way. If people were given the opportunity to choose which law they like, not a single law could have been in place.

  • docb

    Baggernut history is that they cut off their noses to spite their faces…They create the ledge and then jump…Lemmings without a leader.

    • JO

      The Tea party has one, and only one objective. It is to destroy the government. They are following plans designed to accomplish their goal the quickest way possible.
      I doubt they will realize what they have done until they don’t get the pay checks and essential services that government provides. The domino effect of no military pay checks, veterans benefits, social security, government contracts, airline services and so many others is frightening. I wish they would see that before it is too late.

  • elw

    There are not enough words in the English language to describe the silly, crazy and dumb behavior of the Radical Right, It is almost as if they are caught in a time continuum and cannot get out. Their behavior goes way beyond lack of maturity or intelligence, even the most rebellious teenagers learns not to make the same mistakes over and over again. The one who do not, usually end up in secured, supervised settings, which might be a good idea for the Radical Right of the GOP.

  • howa4x

    If they defund Obamacare millions of young adults between the ages of 22-26 will immediately loose their health care benefits. This will not only permanently repel them from the Republican party but also their parents who will have to pay for stop gap coverage. What is the tea party plan for insuring 32 million people? They are not welfare queens but the working poor who need help in affording coverage. If they think the tealiban is taking that away from them, and they already saw rates drop in states that started the exchanges, they also will revile the republican party. A government shutdown is the ultimate in winner take all politics. It shows once and for all for everyone to see that the tea party refuses to compromise in the national interest. If either Rand Paul or Marco Rubio is perceived in leading this then anyone damaged by this shutdown will treat them as though they were Kryptonite. It is not standing on Principle to take benefits away from people, it is just mean spirited and will paint the republicans as well to do older white people with selfish interests in mind. It is time for the true patriots in the republican party to stand up for America and not hide from the radical fringe tea party. Sometimes a war is a good thing