Did The Republicans Actually WANT To Close Down The Government All Along?
And it's not just Maddow who is pointing out that this wasn't just a bunch of random berserk teabaggers causing this. This is official, well-planned out Republican Party strategy, as Jonathan Chait explained to New York magazine readers yesterday.
In January, demoralized House Republicans retreated to Williamsburg, Virginia, to plot out their legislative strategy for President Obama’s second term. Conservatives were angry that their leaders had been unable to stop the expiration of the Bush tax cuts on high incomes, and sought assurances from their leaders that no further compromises would be forthcoming. The agreement that followed, which Republicans called “The Williamsburg Accord,” received obsessive coverage in the conservative media but scant attention in the mainstream press. (The phrase “Williamsburg Accord” has appeared once in the Washington Post and not at all in the New York Times.)Fallout from the Republican government shutdown came fast. Within hours of the shutdown Monday morning, Bloomberg reported that, despite Tea Party jubilation, 72% of Americans oppose it. The GOP is skating on very thin ice, even with all those gerrymandered districts they control.
But the decision House Republicans made in January has set the party on the course it has followed since. If you want to grasp why Republicans are careening toward a potential federal government shutdown, and possibly toward provoking a sovereign debt crisis after that, you need to understand that this is the inevitable product of a conscious party strategy. Just as Republicans responded to their 2008 defeat by moving farther right, they responded to the 2012 defeat by moving right yet again. Since they had begun from a position of total opposition to the entire Obama agenda, the newer rightward lurch took the form of trying to wrest concessions from Obama by provoking a series of crises.
The first element of the strategy is a kind of legislative strike. Initially, House Republicans decided to boycott all direct negotiations with President Obama, and then subsequently extended that boycott to negotiations with the Democratic Senate. (Senate Democrats have spent months pleading with House Republicans to negotiate with them, to no avail.) This kind of refusal to even enter negotiations is highly unusual. The way to make sense of it is that Republicans have planned since January to force Obama to accede to large chunks of the Republican agenda, without Republicans having to offer any policy concessions of their own.
Republicans have thrashed this way and that throughout the year. Republicans have fallen out, often sharply, over which hostages to ransom, with the most conservative ones favoring a government shutdown threat and the more pragmatic wing, oddly, endorsing a debt default threat. They have also struggled to define the terms of their ransom. The Williamsburg Accord initially envisioned forcing Obama to sign spending cuts, or some form of the Paul Ryan budget. During the summer, Republicans flirted with making Obama lock in lower marginal tax rates. Recently, Republicans settled on pressuring him to kill his health-care law. But the general contours of the legislative strike, and the plan of obtaining policy victories without offering any policy concessions, has enjoyed general agreement within the party.
In a rejection of congressional Republicans’ strategy, Americans overwhelmingly oppose undermining President Barack Obama’s health-care law by shutting down the federal government or resisting an increase in the nation’s debt limit, according to a poll released today.If that didn't turn blood in Republican House members' veins to ice-- especially these 32 vulnerable Republican House Members-- a new Quinnipiac congressional generic poll released Monday should. "American voters disapprove 74 -17% of the job Republicans in Congress are doing, their lowest score ever, and disapprove 60 -32% of the job Democrats are doing."
By 72 percent to 22 percent, Americans oppose Congress “shutting down major activities of the federal government” as a way to stop the Affordable Care Act from going into effect, the national survey from Quinnipiac University found.
By 64 percent to 27 percent, voters don’t want Congress to block an increase in the nation’s $16.7 trillion federal borrowing limit as a way to thwart implementation of the health-care law, which Obama signed into law in 2010 with a goal of insuring millions of Americans, known as “Obamacare.”
A majority of the public, 58 percent, is opposed to cutting off funding for the insurance program that begins enrollment today. Thirty-four percent support defunding it.
American voters trust President Obama more than Republicans in Congress on a number of issues:The poll shows that if the election for the House were being held today 34% of voters would go for the Republican and 43% would vote for the Democrat. Among independent voters, 30% would vote for the GOP candidate and 32% would vote for the Democratic candidate. Men favor Democrats 39-36% and women favor Democrats 46-32%.
• 63 - 26 percent on helping low income families;
• 51 - 38 percent on helping the middle class;
• 47 - 38 percent on handling health care;
• 47 - 42 percent on handling the economy.
Voters are divided on the federal budget deficit as 43 percent trust Obama and 42 percent trust Republicans. On gun policy, Republicans get 45 percent to Obama's 42 percent.
Gridlock in Washington is mainly because Republicans are determined to block any Obama initiative, 55 percent of voters say, while 33 percent blame Obama's lack of skill.
In another question, 28 percent of voters blame Republicans for gridlock, while 10 percent blame Democrats and 58 percent blame both equally.
Looking at the 2014 Congressional races, voters pick a generic Democrat over a generic Republican candidate 43 - 34 percent, the widest Democratic margin measured so far.
"On almost all questions, voters see President Obama as more reasonable, and better able to handle the issues," Brown said. "But it is not because the president is beloved. He remains under water in job approval and is tied with Congressional Republicans on who best handles the budget deficit. Voters are angry at almost everyone in Washington over their inability to keep the trains running, but they are madder at the Republicans than the Democrats.
"In general, the Republican brand is down as evidenced by the Democrats' unusually large lead in the so called generic ballot. But we have 13 months before an election can translate this public opinion edge into electoral gains and in politics that amount of time is forever."
That isn't going to matter in blood red hellholes where irresponsible teabagging imbeciles like Louie Gohmert, Steve Stockman, Steve Scalise, Farmer Fincher and Marsha Blackburn are elected. But it is career-ending warnings for Republicans in moderate districts. A competent and energetic DCCC-- which doesn't exist, thanks to Nancy Pelosi giving it to "ex"-Blue Dog Steve Israel-- would be targeting Republicans who voted for the shut down but whose constituents are mainstream, like Michael Turner (OH), Jim Gerlach (PA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Pat Meehan (PA), Mike Rogers (MI), Fred Upton (MI), Buck McKeon (CA), Frank Wolf (VA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), John Kline (MN), Paul Ryan (WI), Darrell Issa (CA), Joe Pitts (PA), John Mica (FL), Dave Reichert (WA), Peter King (NY), Frank LoBiondo (NJ). But Israel has taken most of these Members off the radar-- and the Democrats will NEVER win back the House unless they defeat them.
Mike Obermueller is running for the southeast Minnesota seat occupied by very right-wing John Kline. Right before the vote Monday night, he told voters in the district that "Today, thanks to Congressman Kline, we’re just hours from a government shutdown. Congressman Kline and his leaders in Washington put our economy at risk for the sake of political games. Congressman Kline should be ashamed for keeping his paycheck for not doing his job, even while veterans and seniors face the uncertainty that comes with a government shutdown. We cannot allow Congressman Kline and his leadership to keep putting their extremist agenda ahead of what’s best for this country." Pelosi should fire Israel today and replace him with someone who wants to fight and win-- and who knows how to. If Alan Grayson were to agree to head the DCCC, there is NO QUESTION that the Democrats would win the House back next year.