Friday, October 11, 2013

The Shutdown Endgame?

Google Images for "Extreme Stupidity"
No matter where you stand on Obamacare or the debt ceiling or the shutdown I'm going to tell you something that will chill you. No, really. Look:
In case you can't parse that (Mom, Dad): a person is loudly explaining how the government shutdown is what caused the web-site crashes on the Obamacare roll out. In case you are not aware: the Obamacare website crashes are a disaster that had nothing to do with the shutdown.

But it kinda makes sense, right? I mean: people who are not paying attention too hard might realize that the shutdown has taken down various web-sites (and national monuments and stuff) and the shutdown did coincide with the Obamacare train-wreck roll-out. I mean, it's a coincidence, right?


Crash And Burn
Yesterday a new NBC/WSJ poll came out that was devastating for the Republican party. Amongst the very, very bad news:
  • Republicans have hit an all-time low in popularity. More people blame them for the shutdown now than they did in 1995.
  • Obama's popularity has gone up.
  • Obamacare's popularity has (somehow) gone up.
  • Fewer people support using the shutdown to eliminate funding for O-care than did when this started.
“These numbers lead to one inescapable conclusion: The Republicans are not tone deaf; they are stone deaf.”
Mathematically Speaking? It's Kinda Like That
Worse: The 'Troll-Poll' contingent (that is: people who are convinced polls lie and are concocted by 'the media' to sway opinion) now look like birthers or 9/11 truthers since [ Romney ]. In other words: where Republicans woulda used to have walked this off, now they can't.
What this means, in a nutshell, is this: Both the GOP strategy machine and the GOP messaging machine is not just broken--it's running in the opposite direction. This really is a suicide pact (the link is to the Rolling Stone's Inside the Republican Suicide Machine).

What Now?
You're On The Toll Road And Don't Have The Money To Get Off?
I'm going to ask you a question: what was this "whole thing" about? Was it about stopping Obamacare before it ruined the country (Boehner)? Before it 'got people hooked' (Ted Cruz)? Was it about controlling spending (Paul Ryan)? What was the original reason we got into this mess? If you said "All of the above" you're not understanding that these are to a degree mutually exclusive and only by a carefully nuanced scenario can you split the difference between them (if it is a disaster it will not be popular-sugar. Stopping it will not end the other profligate spending Ryan is going on about, etc.).

I'll ask you another question: How was this "whole thing" supposed to work? Was it that Obama will bend to the will of the people after the pain of the shutdown becomes evident? Was it that Obama was weak and feckless and would fold under pressure anyway? Was it that he'd make some "reasonable" concessions (such as delaying Obamacare a year so that it could be used against Dems in 2014 who could then seize the Senate and maybe repeal it for real?)? Was the idea of a shutdown just to "get him to the table to negotiate on anything?" Was it that Republicans being the reasonable adults in the room (as they offered small bills to re-open the most painful parts of the government and offered to talk like gentlemen) would show through and prove to the public they were fit to govern?

If you think any of these are right you're selectively remembering not just the last 10 days but the last five years. None of these make any sense as a strategy. Some of them are mutually exclusive (re-opening parks reduces the pain that would make Obama cave).

So I'll ask you a final question: What was the "moral authority" on which this was going to be done? Was it the will of the people as expressed by polling going generally against Obamacare? Was it the responsibility of power that the few House Republicans with a spine had to step in to save America? Was it the 'right' thing to do because [ logic ]?

If you think any of these things are true consider that the one actually put forth--the first--would mean that now that Obama's popularity has gone up, Obamacare's popularity has gone up, and the GOP's popularity has gone down they should just back out and fold up.

If you think it's the other two, how do you square the Debt Ceiling (destroying America's credit rating) with doing the 'right' thing? Denial of it? That's going around--remember how well it worked for Romney.

Exit question: After the 2012 election a popular sentiment on the Internet amongst conservatives was Let It Burn. That was the idea that conservatives had done their part--would stand back--and let the choices the American people had made play out.

They would Let America Burn.

Okay, fair enough you say? Perhaps--but if you do not admit there was anger behind it you are in denial yourself. There was--it was plain to see. And you know something? "Let It Burn" is not far from "Make It Burn."

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