Monday, September 23, 2013

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and Virginia Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Cuccinelli Have the Most At Stake in the Government Funding Fight

Getting the Real News the Established Press Ignores

Listening to the broadcast stories and the news reports on the battle by Republicans to shut down the Federal government over funding for health care reform one would think that Texas Senator Ted Cruz is the story here.  He is not.  Mr. Cruz is simply taking the farthest right position one can take, that being the position that best positions him in the Republican party.  But the real story here is the fate of three seldom mentioned Republicans

  1. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:  Sen. McConnell has been notably absent from this fight.  This is because he really, really doesn’t want to take a stand.  Sen. McConnell is facing a challenger from the extreme (really extreme) right wing of the party in his bid for re-election from Kentucky in 2014.
Sen. McConnell certainly does not want the negative press that will come down on him for causing the Federal government to shut down. But he also does not want to have to side with the reasonable people and severely damage his chances in the Republican primary.  So he wants nothing to do here, but unfortunately some time this week he will have to vote.

Politically Senator McConnell should side with Sen. Cruz and expect to lose.  This is the best possible outcome for him, being on the losing side in this case is winning. And nobody remembers the losers.  But Sen. McConnell has announced he will not support Senator Cruz, which can only mean that there are some Senators and some positions that are so odious that even a blatantly political animals like many U.Senators are have a limit.  So will Senator McConnell's position here hurt him in his primary?  Tune in next year to find out.

  1. House Speaker John Boehner:  Mr. Boehner will have a choice later this week.  He can bring up a vote on a budget funding bill that has been stripped of de-funding health care reform, and incur the wrath of his party and the possibility of the loss of his Speakership.  Or he can send a bill with de-funding back to certain defeat in the Senate, and probably causing a shutdown.  Either way this is a losing situation.
Look for Mr. Boehner to punt.  He will likely promise his Republican members that he will take the issue to the debt ceiling fight, and that he will really, really, really cause a government financial crisis in order to get the will of the Republicans to triumph over health care reform. And he may make an effort to send a partial defunding or delay of health care reform back to the Senate.  But Mr. Boehner's Speakership is on thin ice here, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor is right behind him, not to support him to but to stick a knife in his back at the first opportunity.  If Cantor doesn't support the Speaker, look out John.

Even worse for Mr. Boehner is that the President is on record as being unwilling to move or even negotiate on the debt ceiling.  Now no one really believes the President, but this time he may actually live up to what he said he would do.  If so the crisis is moved from October 1 to mid to late October.  And then what do you do John?

  1. Republican Candidate for Virginia Governor Ken Cuccinelli:  This is the only race that matters this fall.  Mr. Cuccinelli is a rabid conservative trying to run away from his past.  In fact the biggest opponent Mr. Cuccinelli has in his race is Ken Cuccinelli because his opponent is a lackluster Democrat who against any other Republican would be losing badly.    Mr. Cuccinelli would obviously support shutting down the Federal government, except that the prosperity of his state depends upon the Federal government. 
His opponent, the lamentable Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a man with no program, no plan, and no credentials will try to make Mr. Cuccinelli the face of the shutdown even if Mr. Cuccinelli turns renegade and does not support the House Republicans.  So Mr. Cuccinelli really, really, really wants this problem to go away.  But at this point is hard to see how that will happen.  Right now Mr. Cuccinelli is trailing but is close enough to pull out a win, Virginia Republicans being the type that will vote for whoever has the Republican label, no mattter what.  A government shutdown/default that dooms his chances would send a strong message about the politics of this whole issue.

So these are the three really important political stories in the budget/debt ceiling fight.  Too bad the media is not covering them but then this Forum is so there is enlightenment.  No humility here, just enlightenment.

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