Editorial: Hoppy Kercheval: GOP plans to destroy the village to save it
09/19/2013 - WV Metro News
CHARLESTON - President Obama got an incredible stroke of luck when Russian President Vladimir Putin bailed him out on Syria, promising to secure Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons. Putin’s haughty, lecturing letter to America in the New York Times also jangled some jingoistic spirits here causing even some Obama detractors to make sure we rooted for our side.
America was growing weary of the Syrian debate anyway, and then came the Navy Yard massacre, further pushing the Middle East turmoil to the back pages, off cable TV and radio talk shows.
The economy continues to slog along and the polls show Americans are increasingly negative toward the Affordable Health Care Act. However, the President may be bailed out again, this time by the Republicans.
Some conservative groups have joined with a set of Congressional Republicans to stake the party’s immediate future on the movement to defund Obamacare, even if it means a government shutdown. Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint has said that “The risk of that (a government shutdown) is so much less than the risk to our country if we implemented Obamacare.”
The new health care law is a monstrosity, a mind-numbingly complicated and expensive government solution that was sold to the country under the false promise that if you liked your insurance and your doctor, you could keep them.
However, the Republicans are choosing the wrong time and place for the fight to repeal it.
The Republicans want to use the threat of a government shutdown as leverage to repeal the law. The latest incarnation of such a bill calls for a one year increase in the debt ceiling, while also delaying Obamacare one year. (The Congress also has to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond September 30th.)
If that passes, the Democratically-controlled Senate will likely strip out the Obamacare provision, pass the bill and send it back to the Republican-controlled House. Even if the bill did magically pass the Senate, the President would veto it because it upends his signature legislation.
If nobody blinks, the federal government will run out of money at the end of the month. Since no appropriations bills have been passed, as was the case during the 1995 shutdown, this would be a complete closure of the government.
Who gets the blame?
Hard-line Republicans believe the country will rally around them for stopping Obamacare. Yes, and unicorns might show up at their celebratory press conference. Most Americans range from worried to contemptuous of Obamacare, but they still want their government to function.
Mark it down, the GOP gets the blame.
One theory suggests that elements of the conservative movement are actually okay with that. They see weak-kneed Republicans being plowed under by the controversy, while big money from the most conservative wing of the Republican Party flows to those who will remake a more ideologically pure party, one where John Boehner is not in charge.
It’s the political version of the destroying the village to save it.
It won’t work, but the only way to demonstrate that may be to let it happen, and that’s the direction we appear to be headed. That leaves President Obama with an enviable political option: just stay out of the way.