Monday, August 12, 2013

Republicans Are Going to War Against Obama Health Care Reform Act – Going to War with Fellow Republicans

Fighting Summer Doldrums to Watch Dumb and Dumber

Anyone who thinks the American electorate is engaged in politics and economics in the month of August 2013 is just not paying attention.  The public is consumed with vacations and planning for the fall and the things that make up everyday life in the summer.  Yes you can take opinion polls, but they are meaningless.  Nothing definite will be known about the one critical election in 2013, the Governor’s race in Virginia until October.

But in Washington the Republicans are debating fighting among themselves on how to defund and defeat the health care reform law that will largely, but not completely take effect in 2014.  On one side are those who want to use the fact that a new spending authorization must be approved by October 1 to force a defunding of health care reform.  Their strategy is to force a shutdown of government operations unless health care reform funding is eliminated from the federal budget.  A leader in all of this, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and he is fighting mad, Texas fighting mad.

Ted Cruz is shown. | AP Photo
Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz - Hey Republicans, you selected and elected him, he's all yours now.

Ted Cruz is taking his hardball tactics to a whole new level.

The Texas freshman senator and his senior aides are unleashing a barrage of attacks on their fellow Republicans for refusing to support their plan to choke off Obamacare as a condition for funding the government. Cruz’s chief of staff is lambasting fellow conservatives like Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn for serving in the “surrender caucus.” His top political strategist has compared Mitch McConnell to Barack Obama. And the senator himself has said many Republicans are “scared” to wage this fight.

On the other side are Republicans who would defund health care, and probably everything else except they fear the political consequences.

Some Republicans point out that even if funding for Obamacare is eliminated in the continuing resolution, much of the law will still stand because of mandatory health care spending enacted under the Affordable Care Act. Many Republicans have stark memories from the Clinton-era shutdown fights and believe the GOP took the lion’s share of the blame for a politically disastrous fight.

“We should do everything we can to delay the individual mandate for a year. But my view is that this is not really what the public is interested in. You shut the government down: That means people lose Social Security checks,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “I don’t think linking the two is a very good idea.”

And the Republican leadership in the Congress is really under the gun.  Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell is facing a challenge from the right, and is being challenged to support a shutdown.  House Speaker John Boehner is taking the road that weasels travel, he being against a shutdown but willing to follow rather than lead.  It is widely reported but untrue that Speaker Boehner has the support of the weasel population nationwide.

Anyway, all of this comes to a head on October 1, but in the meantime everyone can relax and enjoy the summer.  As for Republicans, the good news here is that no matter which side of the party wins, both sides lose.

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