All they had to do to win was nothing:
House Republican leaders canceled plans to call a vote Tuesday evening on a Republican plan to raise the debt limit and reopen the government. They couldn’t round up enough Republican votes to pass it.
In fact, this is the least stunning event ever. The bill would have raised the debt ceiling. It would have changed Obamacare, Republicans’ white whale, in only the most trivial ways. The powerful conservative pressure group Heritage Action opposed it. Of course Speaker John Boehner couldn’t get the votes.
The only stunning thing is that anyone still looks at House Republicans and says: “You know what would be great? Giving these people more power over public policy.”
Roughly one-third of this caucus thinks hitting the debt ceiling and shutting down the government are great strategies to try to stop Obamacare. The other two-thirds of the party has realized all along that this strategy sucks, but they could not find any way to stop their party from implementing it — even though these “reasonable” Republicans outnumber the crazies.
A party that is this bad at tactics can’t be expected to be any good at policy-making.
Jeebus, this is embarrassing to watch. I’m not a Republican or a conservative but I was rooting for them to win this one. I feel like a casual visitor at a dysfunctional family’s reality television season finale.
The GOP doesn’t have much leverage at the moment. Obama resided in the White House and thanks to a few RINOs the Republicans can’t even manage a successful filibuster in the Senate. They do hold the House of Representatives, but even if they could pick up a few votes in the Senate Obama would veto anything they pass.
But this was a gimme. All they had to do to win was nothing.
Okay, “win” is a slippery term. They obviously were not going to get any big policy victories. “Defund Obamacare” was a non-starter. Repealing Obamacare ain’t happening unless they win the Senate and the White House. Maybe they could have forced a delay of the implementation. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
Republicans need to rally their base. Sometimes you have to fight just to prove that you will fight. Yeah, that bully is bigger and stronger than you, and there is no way you can beat him. But you fight him anyway, knowing you’re gonna get your ass kicked.
This is especially true when you are defending a friend. You don’t say “I’ve got your back, as long as I’m sure we’re gonna win. Otherwise I’m outta here!” And you don’t take a poll to see what’s popular.
Harry Reid and Barack Obama were refusing to negotiate while calling the Republicans nasty names. The previous “continuing resolution” (what we have instead of a federal budget) had expired and the government was gonna run out of credit unless the debt ceiling was raised. Without the cooperation of the House Republicans nothing could happen on either one. That is why we had a partial shutdown.
It doesn’t get any simpler. All they had to do to win was nothing
If the House Republicans do nothing, the crisis keeps going. The “essential government services” keep going, but Shutdown Theater continues, and Uncle Sam is running out of credit. Whoever blinks first, loses.
So you do NOTHING, until Barack Obama agrees to negotiate.
It’s not a bluff. You make clear that you are willing to make a deal, but you insist that the president negotiate with you. Face to face. No secrecy.
If I was Speaker of the House I would insist that Obama come down to the Capitol and meet with me at my office. After all, I already went to his place a few times so he could tell me he wasn’t going to negotiate.
If/when he negotiates, you win. Make him give you something just to prove a point.
That’s how you win by doing nothing.