Monday, September 23, 2013

Government Shutdown: Self-Filibuster Edition

The conservative Ace of Spades blog gently touches a sensitive question:
But there is a tension here. We say "Let It Burn," but isn't the real "Let It Burn" position speeding ObamaCare on its way?
The Let-It-Burn strategy that some conservatives adopted after the 2012 elections was that as the public had re-elected Obama for a second term, it was time to pull back--to stop being the adults in the room--and let the children have their way: they would 'burn the republic to the ground'--and after much hardship from their self-inflicted wounds, the conservatives would come back and pick up the pieces.

If Obamacare is the economy-destroying patient-killing disaster it's supposed to be it should be the centerpiece of the Let-It-Burn strategy. So why not just stand aside and let it sail through?

The other position was that Obamacare would get everyone addicted to it--that the people getting the handouts would never give it up--so if it went live--even for a day--it would become entrenched (like that Ponzi scheme you may've heard of--Social Security). These are contradictory (unless you assume that Obamacare can be absolutely terrible for the people on it and destroy the economy--but still keep enough of the voting populace enchanted enough to hold fast to it).

The Pink Elephant in the room is that the people most strongly leading the Defund (instead of the Delay) coalition are acting like they're pretty sure it'll work--and be attractive.

Similarly Hot Air has to deal with a CNBC poll that shows little support for the 'shutdown' that is the stick for the defund strategy:
Even while a majority of Republicans support defunding (51/36), a near-majority oppose a government shutdown over the issue (36/48 for shutdown). Independents break even more harshly against both, narrowly opposing defunding (40/44) but coming out almost 5:1 against a government shutdown, 14/65. In fact, the only demographic that favors this strategy, according to CNBC, is the Tea Party demo, which supports a shutdown strategy with a 54% majority.
The republicans know that their attempts to block Obamacare are not being seen as heroic by most Americans. They are being seen as obstructionist and, in some instances, even self-serving (Cruz's 2016 bid?). They're also seen as insincere. That's the Purple Elephant in the room: does anyone believe that those saying "This is our last chance to stop Obamacare" really believe it? Of course not--when/if this fails they'll be back with another kill-the-bill plan next week (literally next week: the debt ceiling).

Fox News probably recalls Ronald Reagan's '11th Commandment'--thou shalt not speak ill of fellow republicans--but apparently the GOP establishment doesn't: 'Top' GOP Republicans sent opposition research to Chris Wallace to hammer Cruz with for his morning interviews!
In an appearance on Washington D.C.'s Fox 5 to preview his Sunday show, Wallace said, "I will tell you I have never in my time in Washington seen a party so upset with one of its own members."
Uhm ... yeah.

Indeed, in a seemingly self-destructing legal maneuver, Cruz will be forced to filibuster the House bill ... in order to save it.
The Texas senator, who backed the stopgap measure passed by the GOP-controlled House on Friday, said the vote-blocking strategy is necessary to prevent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from using "procedural gimmicks" to restore funding for the health care law.
The idea that extreme measures--such as a government shutdown (which isn't a shutdown in GOP-lingo--it's a slow-down)--are justified because of Democratic legal-trickery works with the base. The White Elephant in the room, of course, is that the standard form of voting is holding a 'cloture' vote--what Reid is doing in this case, is bog-standard: He's just hoping you won't know that.

In other words, the strategy is self-destructive and toxic: it doesn't make sense, it turns off potential voters, and it fractures the party internally. Why's it so attractive?

Why IS It So Attractive?
The Defund Obamacare plan is terribly attractive to the 20%-30% of the GOP base who believe Obama is a secret Muslim who, maybe, engineered the Benghazi attacks and hates America. These people--largely, but not solely, older retirees--are a valuable source of funding for agencies under the GOP "brand."

In other words, Defunders are trying to sell these guys a promise of feeling victorious and validated for cash.


Cash (or the equivalent thereof). Ted Cruz plans to use this as a massive fund-raising platform (as well as getting millions of dollars worth of name recognition). GOP House members are planning to use this to keep their jobs: if you have literally shutdown the government there is almost no room left on your right flank--and in safe districts, there is no left-flank.

Media personalities see the value in backing the Defund strategy--it gets you views / listeners. Strategists come down on the Delay side. The difference is that strategists are usually not trying to directly raise money but, rather, increase their personal value by making good calls. The media super-stars make money by telling the base what it wants to hear: that they can still win.

Also: that America is about to be broken up and California will be returned to Mexico. They like hearing that too.


This article is a fascinating look at how the GOP conspiracy-machine raises money off pensioners. These people will buy whatever you sell them--so long as they think Obama doesn't want them to have it!
The “news” that California will soon be annexed by our immediate neighbor to the south (on October 15, to be exact) was forwarded to me by our own Mark Thompson. ... Williams warns that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is secretly asking “congressional leaders” to avoid a dissolving of the United States as we know it. Without swift action, Williams implies, we will soon be a crippled nation of only 34 states. States such as Massachusetts, Michigan, Florida, Arizona and Virginia will be terminated.  ... The email links to an eighteen-minute video that warns of the impending disaster, and then near the end turns into a pitch to subscribe to an investment newsletter put out by Wall Street Daily.
The article makes a cool-headed case that the people involved in selling this nonsense are, in fact, some pretty big names in the RNC constellation--and that their channels are major (Townhall) and not some fly-by-night website.

In other words, it's a con job: don't ask me--ask Fox News:

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