The Republicans in Washington are feeling a lot of pressure from TEA Party conservatives to dig in and don’t budge against the President and his Democratic allies in the Senate. ”We must defund Obamacare!” was the rallying cry from the election last year and the apparent strategy going in to 2013. I agree, it’s a horrible piece of public policy, and I believe that there are better ways to deal with the healthcare coverage issue. However, I believe that most folks in Washington probably considered passing legislation that defunds Obamacare the equivalent to spinning one’s tires in the mud. You go no where fast.
We drew our line in the sand saying that we would not budge on funding Obamacare in the Continuing Resolution (seeing that we haven’t had a budget since President Obama took office). The House and Senate leadership cooled to that idea when they saw that they were getting no where fast. Republicans are getting the majority of the blame for the shut down…in spite of the President abusing his authority of barricading open air national parks and monuments inflicting pain upon Americans so that he can get his way.
Yes, Obamacare is unpopular, but I still believe we’re operating in a 2012 election mode. We need to realize that we lost the 2012 election. We only control the House. The opportunity for defunding Obamacare died on election night 2012. Perhaps we could have (or maybe even still try to) delayed Obamacare, but who knows now. I believe that we should have seized the opportunity to let Democrats own Obamacare 100%, and we, the Republicans, should have said “the Democrats say that the American people want this. The President was re-elected in 2012, so maybe Americans, regretfully, agree with them. However, we believe it’s a horrid piece of public policy that will be an albatross around the neck of the American people for years. We’re washing our hands of this. It’s the Democrats’ policy 100%. We have done what we could, but the American voters believed the tempting lies of a snake oil salesman.” Kyle Wingfield wrote about that on Monday.
We’ve seen the news that the Obamacare enrollment system is not robust and well overpriced. People aren’t enrolling in droves as expected as well as distortions of enrolling being perpetuated by Obama supporters. Unfortunately, that’s been shuffled under the “bigger” news of a partial government shutdown and a seemingly bigger default problem for the country. We have other policy issues that we can fight on: the (lack of) budget, Fast and Furious, and just the general lack of transparency. That same transparency that the President promised us in the beginning of his administration.
I’m sure folks will say that I want us to give up and go home. No, what I’m saying is, we need to realize that we aren’t winning the battle and retreat, regather, refocus, and live to fight another day. If anything, we’re hurting our prospects for elections to come. Rasmussen released a poll yesterday saying that Americans are split on who should control Congress with the Democrats having a 46% edge over the Republican’s 45%. We ain’t winning any popularity contests, and we certainly won’t if we’re unable to resolve a deal to prevent the country from defaulting in the next few days (even though some economists say it won’t be a big deal if we were able to resolve it within a week or so). It’s like what Kenny Rogers said: You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run. ;