You’ve seen the Harry Reid “why would we want to?” video, and now you’ll see the response to that.
Which one sounds more reasonable?
There is a report that House Speaker John Boehner is talking up some sort of Grand Bargain which amounts to a cave-in on Obamacare in return for a bunch of other goodies like tax reform or agricultural subsidies and so forth.
That’s a mistake if it’s true.
A government shutdown has to be seen as a strike. You win or lose the strike by being the one who holds his nerve while the other guy loses it, or being the guy who loses his nerve first.
And regardless of what the Beltway intelligentsia thinks, Boehner is in a position to win the strike. He has Reid on record not caring about sick kids and he has World War II vets crashing Barry-cades on the National Mall. He’s bound to have canceled football games from the service academies despite the private sector rushing in to pick up the tab for them, and he’s assuredly have Obama’s golfing outings and/or fundraising trips in the midst of a shutdown.
Boehner is also likely to have a public which, after a week or so of a shutdown, begins to notice that nothing of the shutdown has affected them a whole lot – just like the sequestration didn’t affect them.
Meanwhile, nobody is buying Obamacare plans. That’s a story which is beginning to get out.
So if the Speaker can just hang on and keep his caucus from bolting on him, while shooting those piecemeal appropriations over to the Senate, three or four things could happen to Reid…
1. Reid refuses to allow a vote. This makes Harry Reid look like he hates sick kids.
2. Reid allows a vote, and the Dems beat the CR. They’d probably have to do that on a party-line vote, which would mean the Mary Landrieus and Kay Hagans and Mark Pryors of the world, who are up for re-election in red states, would be voting to kill sick kids, or whatever, and those votes would be used against them, big-time.
3a. Reid allows a vote and the CR passes. That would mean the Democrats have broken and they’re no longer unified. That could mean a stampede by which the House is able to reopen the government pretty much everywhere Obamacare’s footprint isn’t felt. If Obama signs the CR, or multiple CR’s funding the government, the Dems lose.
3b. Reid allows a vote, the CR passes and Obama vetoes it. In that case Obama is the bad guy, his popularity completely tanks because this is absolutely his shutdown and the Landrieus and Pryors are hung out to dry for having voted to reopen the government only to be foiled by the president of their party who is unpopular in their states.
In no circumstances do the Dems come out well with these piecemeal bills. They lose across the board. If Boehner and the rest of the House Republicans do a deal before running this out they’ll lose, but if they stick to the plan it’s a sizable winner for them. And speeches like Scalise’s will help to illuminate the asymmetrical nature of the arguments being made.