Key GOP figures on Wednesday sent their clearest signals that they are abandoning their bid to immediately stop the federal health-care law — the issue that forced the government to shut down — and are scrambling for a fallback strategy.
Republican Party leaders, activists and donors now widely acknowledge that the effort to kill President Obama’s signature initiative by hitting the brakes on the government has been a failure. The law has largely disappeared from their calculus as they look for a way out of the impasse over the shutdown and for a way to avoid a possible default on U.S. debt.
Instead, they are regrouping for a longer battle over the health-care law. They also are trying to refocus the upcoming debt-ceiling showdown on fiscal issues, including entitlements and tax reform.
The strategy to defund the Affordable Care Act “needed a Plan B, and its authors, if they had one, didn’t share what it was,” said Heather R. Higgins, head of the Independent Women’s Forum and founder of a coalition of conservative groups seeking repeal of the health-care law.
Okay, everybody in the circular firing squad report over here…
Some Republicans are aiming harsh recriminations toward those who had vigorously advocated linking the funding needed to keep the government operating to the drive to stop the health-care law. Freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), who has become the face of that strategy, is the chief target of such criticism from within GOP ranks.
“I think it was very possible for us to delay the implementation of Obamacare for a year until Cruz came along and crashed and burned,” anti-tax activist Grover Norquist said.
But Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said: “The American people remain behind the defund effort. Americans deserve negotiations. They don’t want Obamacare. Public opinion is behind this, and that should be enough for Democrats to come to the table and provide relief for all Americans.”
You know that when someone starts citing “the American people” as their source of inspiration and propulsion, they are just making shit up. The polling places the GOP and Congress just slightly ahead of the clap and crabs in your shorts in terms of popularity.
The debt ceiling hits a week from today. By then, and if the White House and the Democrats don’t cave, I expect this panic mode on the part of the Republicans will be looked back on with fond recollection as a time of unity compared to what they’ll be like when the global markets react to the world’s financial capital defaulting on its debts.
This is what happens when you base your strategy solely on what you think your opponent will do. In this case, the GOP believed that President Obama would cave and give in on Obamacare. After all, they’ve seen him cave before on such things as the Bush tax cuts and the sequester. They did not plan a contingency if, for some reason, the Democrats actually stood firm, nor did they take into account that the president might have actually learned something from the last few times or protect the law that will define his presidency in history.
So now what will they do?