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Rick Moran


September 19, 2013 - 10:27 pm

How dysfunctional is a political party when futility is passed off as “strategy” and breaking from reality is portrayed as “principle”?

Obamacare isn’t as impactful an issue as slavery but it may as well be considering what it is doing to the Republican Party. Where the issue of slavery nearly destroyed the Democratic Party, weakening it for more than a generation before and after the Civil War, Obamacare threatens a similar meltdown for the GOP as even the most fervent opponents of the law are now having their commitment to getting rid of it questioned.

This is a different Republican Party than the one just five years ago — which was a different party from the one a decade before and the one a decade before that again. The shift has been radical. It has redefined conservatism in the process, eschewing traditional conservative principles and substituting a blindly partisan, wild-eyed extremist ideology that turns on and bites its own at the first sign of apostasy.

Wanting to defund Obamacare is not extreme. But denying reality by believing it’s possible demonstrates just how far around the bend the base of the Republican Party has traveled. And punishing those who point out the futility of such by attempting to promote the idea that they actually support Obamacare is childish. This tenuous hold on reality also manifests itself in wild conspiracy theories, unreasonable demands on the GOP leadership, and a rejection of responsible governance.

Cannibalism is not a sign of a healthy political movement. But Texas Senator Ted Cruz had a few chunks bitten from his hide when he dared point out that, at the moment, the arithmetic in the Senate does not favor the effort to defund Obamacare:

Cruz, a tea party favorite, is one of the most vocal proponents of defunding the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s health care reform law. He’s spent months championing the cause. But on Wednesday, as House Republican leaders unveiled their latest plan for sinking Obamacare — tying a measure to defund the law to a must-pass resolution that keeps the government running — Cruz thanked House Republicans for their fight, and said they’re on their own.

“[Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so,” Cruz said in a statement. “At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people.”

The sense of betrayal from House Republicans is palpable. “We haven’t even taken up the bill and Ted Cruz is admitting defeat?” spit one GOP House aide. “Ted Cruz came here to throw bombs and fundraise off of attacks on fellow Republicans. He’s a joke, plain and simple,” said another.

Cruz pointing out the reality of the situation is apparently too much to bear for many Republicans. In what universe will the Senate ever vote to defund Obamacare? Perhaps some of those fire breathers in the House could invite 15 or so Democratic senators out for a few drinks, slip them some mickeys, and force Harry Reid to bring the continuing resolution to the floor where it can be passed. Other than that, they have no strategy, no arguments they can make to Democratic senators to get them to change their minds, and no threats that haven’t already been made. There are no parliamentary gimmicks that Republicans can use to engineer victory. A filibuster would shut down the government, which the Democrats are perfectly prepared to do. But how long can that go on?

Forget about political blame for a shutdown. Let’s look at what that means for Obamacare. Because unless the Republicans are willing to shut the government down until 2017 when they may be able to repeal it, they have lost. And Obamacare will limp forward with the exchanges already funded and will be up and running in less than a fortnight, the individual mandate will still be the law of the land, Medicaid expansion will go forward, and the 20,000 pages of rules and regulations that have already been written will still have the force of law. Of course, the subsidies will not be funded, but people will still have to purchase insurance on the exchanges or face the music with the IRS. That will no doubt be wildly popular with the public.

Accusing Cruz of “surrendering” is lunacy. Republicans apparently want to show up on the battlefield only to find it empty. Whom or what are they supposed to fight? How can you “surrender” when you’re the only one fighting the war?

Cruz went even further in remarks to reporters after a speech in Washington:

“Right now, [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid has 54 Democrats and they presumably are going to stand with him … and a number of Senate Republicans have expressed that they may support the Democrats here,” Cruz told a couple of reporters, just after his remarks at an event hosted by the National Auto Dealers Association.

“I think it is likely that it will take another election for a full repeal,” he said.

Let’s hope, although the Republicans better have an alternative insurance-reform plan ready to go or the idea of repeal is useless. Imagining what would happen to people’s insurance, the economy, and the entire health care industry if Obamacare is yanked with no substitute ready to replace it is beyond the ken of our understanding. Millions would see their premiums skyrocket without subsidies, states would be stuck holding the bag on Medicaid expansion, massively increasing their costs, while rules governing doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and the rest of the industry would still be enforceable. The economic dislocation and confusion would be unprecedented.

Still, Obamacare is worth repealing. Removing the tentacles of the state from one sixth of the economy will be extremely disruptive but, in the end, probably worth it.

Back to the present hallucination that defunds Obamacare, the Senate isn’t the only actor in this fantasy, of course. Looming over the defunding scenario is the dark visage of Lord Sauron, sometimes referred to as President Obama. In the House GOP scheme, after Senate Democrats have a road to Damascus moment and vote to defund a bill they voted for in 2010 and defended for the last three years, the continuing resolution lands on the president’s desk where he is so terrified of the political consequences of a government shutdown that he cuts off his own testicles and signs it.

And we all lived happily ever after.

“Ted Cruz and [Utah Sen.] Mike Lee have been asking for this fight,” said Louisiana Rep. John Fleming, a reliable conservative. “The conservative base has been asking for this fight. So we’re gonna give ’em the fight.”

And that pretty much sums up the reason why so many Republicans — perfectly aware that they are beyond tilting at windmills and are now upside down with their heads stuck in the mud — are going to vote for this strategy. Shadow boxing with phantoms is being sold as a “fight” because this proves that Republicans are “serious” about getting rid of Obamacare.

PJ Media’s Andrew McCarthy explains:

Resistance is futile, in other words, so why resist at all? It’s an ironic argument since it seems Republican leadership only resists when doing so is futile, when the resistance is token. Thus the prior votes to repeal Obamacare, all forty of them, taken in the comfortable knowledge that they had no chance of succeeding – just going through the motions in faux fulfillment of a commitment to the base to work tirelessly to undo the law. But when something might not be futile – when it could actually work, and therefore entails hard work and risk – we generally find leadership in folderoo mode, babbling its one-half-of-one-third mantra.

Mr. McCarthy goes on to describe just why defunding is different than repeal and why it has a real chance of success. The Many Worlds Theory of quantum mechanics posits the notion that once a quantum event is observed, the universe is split into an infinite number of universes, each representing a different possible outcome for that event. For example, in our universe, you go out to check your mailbox tomorrow, and in another universe, when you open the door and reach in to pull out your mail, instead of bills and circulars, you find a check for a million dollars. Any outcome is possible.

So one supposes in some universe in the quantum firmament, there is scenario where Democrats in the Senate vote for defunding Obamacare and, in a grand ceremony at the White House, President Obama signs the CR with a flourish, thanking Republicans for saving America.

Meanwhile, back on planet earth, this defunding mirage is tearing at the vitals of the Republican Party. It has aroused enormous animosity and bitterness among the base, who are demanding that the attempt be made not because it has any chance whatsoever for success, but because the effort itself will prove that the establishment is paying attention to the right wingers and that they can be controlled like a bunch of first graders lining up for a fire drill. The 40 or so votes to defund Obamacare, as Mr. McCarthy points out, weren’t serious and didn’t prove that members were sufficiently dedicated to getting rid of the law. Ergo, Republican lawmakers must pretend that the defunding hallucination is real by voting for it in the House and filibustering any continuing resolution in the Senate that authorizes one cent for the law.

There is no objective reality at work here. But as ideology is refined and sharpened even more, fewer and fewer Republicans dare stray off the right-wing reservation. If the right wing can turn on Ted Cruz, who in the entire GOP caucus is safe?

More: House Republican Slams Cruz, Lee for Making Members ‘Punching Bags’

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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Top Rated Comments   
"Resistance is futile ... so why resist at all?" Can you imagine our world today if Washington, or Churchill, or Martin Luther King had used this rhetoric? No wonder why so many of us are disgusted with mainstream Republicans. These are the same spineless "geniuses" willing to commit party suicide by embracing immigration amnesty. Thankfully, Patrick Henry did NOT say, "Let's face it, we don't have a chance, so let's go home now and maybe we'll try again in a few years."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Imagining what would happen to people’s insurance, the economy, and the entire health care industry if Obamacare is yanked with no substitute ready to replace it is beyond the ken of our understanding. Millions would see their premiums skyrocket without subsidies, states would be stuck holding the bag on Medicaid expansion, massively increasing their costs, while rules governing doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and the rest of the industry would still be enforceable. The economic dislocation and confusion would be unprecedented."

What the hell are you going hysterical about? Is this a chicken little act on crack? We would have the system we had before the unaffordable anti health care Obamacare.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All the house needs to do to "defund" Obamacare is to ... ... just not fund it. It doesn't get any simpler. If Herr Obama, or Herr Reid, "shuts down" the government in a hizzy fit, then he "shuts down" the government in a hizzy fit.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (61)
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"Still, Obamacare is worth repealing. Removing the tentacles of the state from one sixth of the economy will be extremely disruptive but, in the end, probably worth it."

I'm sorry to break it to you, Mr Moran, but that ship has sailed, and probably at least 40 years ago. But, I'm guessing you know all this, and are just using this trope for rhetorical effect.

If there is any "industry" more regulated and intertwined with government at all levels, I can't think of one other than the health care industry. From establishing pricing of procedures via the muscle of CMS, to training and certifying of practitioners, to defining building specifications.

Perhaps the airlines come in a close second. This idea of the "government controlling one-sixth of the economy" as a scare tactic is complete bushwa. Last I heard, people will be signing up for insurance from PRIVATE insurance companies. That means Cigna, United Health, etc.

OK, be afraid, be very afraid, if that floats your boat.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Moran was ever right about anything this column would give me cause for pause. After reading it twice I could only detect the same old establishment Republican drone. Don't do anything to upset the status quo - don't worry the Democrats will adjust it for us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh my. Breitbart says the HuffPo sources that threw you into a spitting tizzy are false.

Huffington Post Doubles Down on False Cruz Attack over Obamacare Defunding
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't care for the tone and much of the content of the article.

Why is it a given that the other is going to be the one to hang in there it the end and that its our side that will cut and run?

Internal Democrat documents from the 1990's shutdown show they were ready to cave when Bob Dole came rushing in to their rescue as he pressured the Republicans into giving up so it wouldn't mess with his presidential campaign.

There's no reason to be blindly optimistic about our chances of winning but there's no reason at all to be overly pessimistic. Obama's stance is basically that he would rather shut down the government than to let the Republicans make the slightest change to alter or delay Obamacare.

That's something that can be worked with to our advantage politically if we could stop individual Republican officeholders and pundits from publicly stating that standing up for what they believe in is a stupid strategy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As I have stated before, this fight requires backbone and strategy. Rick, do you really think that the action of defunding Obamacare is the grand strategy here? The votes to defund allow for the possibility of a single battle to be waged. That's it. One little battle in a long war for the hearts and minds of the American people. The battle is nothing more than a diversion intended to buy time to build the support of the American People.

You see, many people were still caught up in the whole "Hope and Change" good times when Obamacare was passed and they really didn't pay attention to the unethical parliamentary procedures and outright deceit used by the Democrats to pass this legislation. Those same people who believed in "Hope and Change" and believed all the lies about Obamacare are now seeing the reality of Obamacare as it hits their jobs and their pocketbooks. When those people were high on "Hope and Change", nothing could convince them otherwise. Those same people are now feeling the hangover from the "Hope and Change" cocktails, are now paying attention, and are now willing to listen.

The thing is, we need time and we need evidence. The people who were duped by "Hope and Change" won't easily admit that they were duped, so the sins committed by the Democrats during the time that the people were high on Hope and Change will always be seen in a positive light. Consequently, the use of such sins as evidence is ineffective. However, now that they are disillusioned and are paying attention, battles such as this are crucial because they force the Democrats to act on their threats and demonstrate their unethical use of parliamentary procedure to thwart the will of the people. Once the Democrats act, then those acts can be used as evidence, only this time, the people are in a foul mood. Hope and Change is long gone and the new evidence will be interpreted in a negative light, giving us a chance to convince them to act at the ballot box in 2014 and beyond.

In the meantime Rick, expect more little battles that appear to have no hope of succeeding in their stated goal, but will succeed in changing hearts, minds, the makeup of congress, and perhaps even the presidency.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Futile my fanny! Correct, if the Senate Ds hold together, the House Conservatives cannot stop the train wreck. But, why is it such a given that 3 or 4 of the vulnerable Ds in the Senate who rep Red States can't have their feet held to the fire? I've already been in contact with TEA Party and Conservative groups in LA (Landrieu), AR (Pryor), and AK (Begich) and they are trying to flood the Senators' offices with a simple ultimatum. BUCK HARRY REID OR WE WILL SEE THAT YOU ARE NEVER RE-ELECTED TO ANYTHING ABOVE DOG CATCHER IF ITS THE LAST THING WE DO! I know that's a bit of hyperbole, but why do we Conservatives sit around wringing our hands admitting that we can't do anything to stop this...without even trying the only tactic available to us. We can at least put up a good fight. If we can't win on an issue that is disapproved by 60%+ of all voters, why don't we just throw ourselves into the sea! We should energize ourselves, fight like hell, and make vulnerable Dems lives as miserable as possible. For a change, WE are on the POPULIST side of an issue!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Simmer down, pal. It happened.

Your friends at HuffPo won't put a good spin on it for you no matter what. If you can't figure it out yourself, I suggest perusing other sources of information.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Richmond Sig, I don't believe you. I suppose you to be a long time leftist trolling this blog. Otherwise, why would you be "with the Repubs" for another three years when you say, "they are not yet ready for primetime"?And, in late 2016 we will elect someone president. Is that when you will "start shopping around for a third party"? To start shopping around after a general election three years away makes no sense at all. So I suspect you of deceit; a basic trait of leftists.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Dems are not going to shut down the entire tincupper system and lose their purchased votes from the perennial residents of Slothville, USA. But whatever they do, they lose. Cruz blew it on this one. If Mr. Moran is quarelling with the GOP methodology, who knows? But, should he be suggesting that one should not fight for the right even against overwhelming odds, he is recommending the cowardly course, and he is wrong. Men of character do what is right, and damn the consequences.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Suppose the whole Fed goes down in flames? I am beginning to think the Anti-Federalists were right. Obamacare establishes a form of government alien to that our ancestors established. Do whatever it takes to destroy or dismantle it. Had our Founding Fathers known about PPACA, they would have included it as one of the grievances they had with the British Parliament and Crown in the Declaration of Independence. Obamacare is Anti-American tyranny—KingGeorgecare. This isn't hyperbole. My ancestors died to stop this kind of ----/thing being the law in this land.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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