GOP Losing Government Shutdown Battle

Republican Ransom

As I was waiting around at the San Francisco VA, I picked up a copy of the SF Examiner and I was very surprised to see the political cartoon above. It isn’t the cartoon itself—I know of lots of liberal political cartoonists. But what was the Examiner publishing it for? And then right next to it was an editorial, “GOP Needs to Stop Obamacare Fight for Good of Nation.”

It was two years ago when I last read the Examiner. (I don’t go out of my way; it’s a terrible paper.) And at that time, three of the four editorials were from the Weekly Standard. The Examiner has been a very conservative paper since it became free and changed to tabloid format. It could be that that the paper just changes with the winds and it is now liberal. I didn’t see anything else that indicated a partisan take on the news—one way or another. But it seems clear that if the Republicans have lost the Examiner, they are losing this battle. Bad.

At the beginning of the government shutdown, I was a little worried. As I reported after the first day, the press was framing the issue in the Republican way. They were pitching it as a negotiation. One would never call a blackmailer’s demands a negotiation. But it seems to have turned around. It isn’t just the Examiner.

As you may recall, Jennifer Bendery has been compiling a list of House Republicans who have publicly called for a clean continuing resolution (CR) vote. Once that number reached 17, it would mean there was a clear and very public majority in the House for the vote. As of right now, it stands at 21. So that has allowed Obama to say very simply that Boehner ought to allow the House to vote on a clean CR:

I want everybody to understand this: There are [enough] Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives today, that if the speaker of the House, John Boehner, simply let the bill get on the floor for an up-or-down vote, every congressman could vote their conscience, the shutdown would end today.

And Boehner’s response is pathetic. He said, “The president’s insistence on steamrolling ahead with this flawed program is irresponsible.” The “flawed program,” of course, is Obamacare. But what makes is especially pathetic is “irresponsible.” Really?! Obamacare is irresponsible but a government shutdown and threat of a government default is the height of responsibility! Regardless, it is hard to compete with: “Congress wants to pass this and Boehner won’t allow it.” I don’t see how he gets out of that.

What’s most amazing is that now Boehner is again saying that he won’t allow a government default. I’m not sure how that works. Is he supposed to say, “Enact our conservative wish list or I won’t raise the Debt Ceiling except I absolutely will raise the Debt Ceiling”? That just makes no sense at all, but that may be the point. Until today, I figured that Boehner might have some idea of what he was doing. But apparently not.

So its looking more and more like the modern Republican Party isn’t just bad at governing; they’re also bad a politics. I haven’t ever felt this good about the Democrats’ chances of retaking the House in 2014.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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