Power in theory, but no courage to use it.
Terrified by ‘government shutdown,’ Republicans surrender on ObamaCare and everything else
Comments | Print friendly | Subscribe | Email Us
This has infuriated me since the Republicans took control of the House in 2011, and it infuriates me still, but at least the dynamic that’s causing it to happen is becoming more clear.
In theory, the Obama/Reid/Pelosi spending machine should have experienced a major check when John Boehner became speaker, because the federal government can’t spend a dime of money unless the House authorizes it. Should have changed everything, right? With Republicans in the majority in the House, they would refuse to authorize the Democrats’ out-of-control spending and force responsible budgeting. That’s why we voted for a Republican majority, right?
One year turns into two, which turns into three, and nothing changes. Spending stays at the very out-of-control level it visited for the first time when Obama, Reid and Pelosi passed the 2009 “stimulus” they pretended was a one-time emergency measure, only to add that $862 billion to the budget baseline in every year since. Boehner, Cantor, Ryan and crew would put a stop to that, yes?
Nothing has changed at all. Not only is the Senate still getting away with not passing budgets, but the continuing resolutions that fund the government in lieu of real budgets reflect the same spending priorities as the last budget that was passed in 2009. Why haven’t Republicans used the power of the purse that they have by virtue of their House majority to stop this? The answer is that they are terrified. Of what? They are terrified of what they know will happen, which is that Obama and Reid will throw a conniption fit at the prospect of anything they want not being included in the budget. This will immediately be portrayed as Republicans spoiling for a “government shutdown,” since this is how it works, don’t you understand? Say no to Obama on anything, and he will have no choice to stomp his feet and say it’s you, meanie, that upset him and made him pick up his ball and go home. You tried to deny him something he wants? Well now you’ve done it. There’s going to be a government shutdown, and you know who’s going to get blamed for that!
Today’s story from Yahoo! News about why ObamaCare is still being funded sums up the problem perfectly:
On Tuesday, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said the most recent iteration of the campaign to defund Obamacare, which is being spearheaded by GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah and others, would “likely” not be successful this year.
“Even if we were to not pass the continuing resolution, you’re not going to be able to defund Obamacare, absent of President Obama signing a law, which I think is highly unlikely,” Johnson said, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “So I appreciate the fact that they’ve raised the issue. But defunding Obamacare, with President Obama in the White House and (Majority Leader) Harry Reid in the Senate, I think is next to impossible.”
Johnson is not alone. Other Republicans, who, like he does, support the spirit of the effort to eradicate the health care law, have pointed out problems with the strategy.
“I’m for stopping Obamacare, but shutting down the government will not stop Obamacare,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican, said Tuesday at an event in Kentucky. McConnell has co-sponsored a bill with Cruz that would strip funding for the law from the continuing resolution, but he has not said if he will vote for a final version of the spending bill if it includes Obamacare funding.
On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan outlined an alternative strategy that would not involve a shutdown threat.
See the problem here? What we’re talking about is a dispute over a singular budget priority, and it’s understood by everyone involved that merely joining the battle means a government shutdown. Democrats have no intention of accepting that because they lost the House they have to change anything they do. They are that confident that they can go kicking and screaming all the way to a government shutdown and the media will dutifully blame the Republicans for the whole thing. The Republicans are just as confident in the same exact outcome, so they don’t dare stand up to Obama and Reid on any budget priority.
Instead, Boehner has chosen to engage in pointless negotiations designed to achieve long-term “deficit reduction targets” that everyone knows will never happen in the real world. When it comes to voting on budget questions of today, he and the Republican majority just keep passing those continuing resolutions that lock in Obama’s and Reid’s spending priorities.
To refuse would mean provoking the Democrat temper-tantrum that would mean everything stops in its tracks.
Democrats are like that kid Bill Mumy played on the Twilight Zone, who had the power to do pretty much anything he wanted, but because of his immaturity did not know how to use it responsibly. And because the media do the Democrats’ bidding for them, Republicans are terrified that any kind of fight whatsoever will get them wished into the cornfield.