October 4, 2013
One reason this column was wary of congressional Republicans’ government-shutdown strategy against ObamaCare is that it seemed unlikely to succeed. ObamaCare is unpopular, but so are government shutdowns, and both the president (for structural reasons) and the Democrats (for ideological ones) would appear to have a natural advantage in such a confrontation. Hence the Democrats’ “victory” in the last two shutdowns, in 1995 and 1996.
It may still turn out that way, but we’ve been surprised this week at the Democrats’ tactical maladroitness. As Josh Jordan quipped yesterday on Twitter: “Since the shutdown began, Obama and [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid have taken tough stands against the two most villainous groups: WWII veterans and kids with cancer.”
And, shockingly, it even got a bit of press coverage. That has to be making them nervous.