Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Deja Vu: The Pretend Debt Ceiling Crisis

The impending debt ceiling vote is much more important than the budget vote of a couple of weeks ago, the delay of which allegedly “shut down government.” This is because the budget vote - which is actually just a temporary continuing resolution - can be resolved by taking out the provision that guts Obamacare. While it would be wonderful to defund Obamacare through this gimmick, sometimes it’s better to take on one battle at a time, rather than try to throw everything in there at once. The pro-life movement has learned this lesson over the years; instead of attempting to pass sweeping, multipart bills against abortion, they’ve learned to propose incremental changes. When they have tried to pack too much into one bill or initiative, it usually ends up defeated.  

The problem is Obama and the Democrats in Congress are now using the government shutdown as a negotiating card on the debt limit. They won’t negotiate with the GOP on the debt ceiling until the GOP backs down on trying to defund Obamacare as part of the budget. The GOP can’t expect to negotiate a win on the budget from a position of weakness. The Democrats control the Senate and the presidency, and to hope to pull off a coup on the budget as the underdog is unrealistic. As we’ve learned from past history, particularly the government shutdowns of 1995-96, a showdown over the government shutdown will most likely end up backfiring on Republicans. Most Americans have no idea how serious the government shutdown is, so they are taking it very seriously. They hear from the left-leaning media that the GOP is continuing to keep it shut down because of insistence on a gimmick to defund Obamacare, and so they blame the GOP.

Republicans would have been better off backing off on the government shutdown, and instead sinking their teeth into the fight over increasing the debt ceiling. There will be a more realistic opportunity to repeal Obamacare in 2016 if the GOP can retake the presidency and possibly the Senate. 

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