Friday, October 11, 2013

Why Did They Do It?

For weeks, possibly months, leading up to the government shutdown the White House and the Left openly wished for a shutdown. They learned the lessons of the shutdowns under President Clinton - that no matter what really happens, the President can use his bully pulpit to blame his opponents and will come out of it politically strengthened.

At the same time the far right made a hysterical appeal to defund Obamacare. They insisted that President Obama would abandon the program that he sees as his legacy. This played well with fund-raisers and raised the visibility of some Tea Party favorites but is counter-productive.

The result of all this is that the Republican brand has been diminished. Republicans are polling at their lowest numbers in years.

Worse, they helped Obamacare. Last night, NBC's top story was on the shutdown and it's effect on the Republicans. It was not until 8 minutes in that they spent time covering what a total failure the exchanges are. Without the Tea Party, the top story would be how unprepared the programs are. If the Republicans had stayed out of the way then public pressure to delay and replace Obamacare would have grown on its own.

That was a squandered opportunity.

It's time for this vocal group to admit a few realities. They are not the only ones in this fight and other strategies are more likely to succeed. They need to stop attacking compromise and learn from President Reagan who never attacked a fellow Republican in public, no mater what.

Obamacare needs to fail on its own. It is not instantly addictive. Lots of people have been hurt by it. The exchanges are not ready and the rates are too high. Instead of distracting people from these problems, the right needs to be highlighting them.

They also need an alternative. Obamacare passed because of a real problem - the fear of being being uninsured with an expensive illness. The Republicans need a solution to this that they can sell.

Shutting down the government will only hurt Republicans in the 2014 and 2016 elections. The only hope of replacing Obamacare lies in taking the Senate and the White House.

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