Free Markets, Free People

Well, that didn’t take long

Last night, on the podcast, I predicted the Republicans would fold on Obamacare, end the shutdown, and avoid a technical default on the debt. Less that 24 hours later, it appears that the Republicans have decided to celebrate the Columbus Day holiday by folding. The word is—as of 1:30pm Pacific Time—that the government will be funded through 15 Jan 2014, and the debt ceiling to around 15 Feb 2014. All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

My position, as a strategic matter, was that the Republicans have simply been galactically stupid. The reality is that Obamacare, with the current Senate and President, will not be repealed. If the republicans, therefore, were not prepared to shut the government down for as long as the sun burns hot in space, they shouldn’t have shut it down at all.  Moreover, even if we assume, arguendo, that the Republicans were prepared to shut down the government forever, they shouldn’t have done it this month.

Alternatively, they could’ve sent up a temporary debt limit increase first, and ensured that was in place, and then shut the government down. At least that way, they could have a long-term shutdown without the specter of default hanging over it.

Then, they should have delayed shutting down the government until after the Obamacare rollout, which everyone with an ounce of sense knew was going to be a failure. Assuming they could have gotten the senate to sign on to a clean budget deal that would’ve funded the government for some period of time, that would’ve made the Obamacare rollout failure the top story last week. Instead it got overshadowed by the budget fight and the shutdown. The Republicans effectively did the Obama administration a favor. Otherwise, they could’ve waited until the failure of the Obamacare rollout was clear, then could’ve offered to delay the personal mandate for a year, to match the business mandate delay, as a gesture of good will to give the Administration some time to "get the system fixed."

Sure, the Republicans—or at least a plurality of them—were elected to repeal Obamacare. Sadly, the electorate as a whole didn’t provide them with the political power to make that happen. Those Republicans, therefore, cannot simply wave a handful of magical fairy dust and make Obamacare disappear. Absent a new resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or the program’s collapse under its own weight, Obamacare will be the law until 2017. That’s just an undeniable fact.

The shutdown was a big game of chicken. The problem is that I firmly believe that President Obama is fully willing to have the US technically default on its debt rather than agree to let Obamacare loose. He isn’t going to veer away at the last minute. He’ll go all the way to default, then blame Republicans for it, and his water carriers in the media will be glad to repeat that message. As Michael said last night on the podcast, at the end of the day, this isn’t about the debt, or default, or Obamacare. It’s about taking the chance to destroy the Republican Party’s opposition.

And again, I go back to my oft-stated position that I want Obamacare implemented. The electorate effectively voted for it, they rejected the chance to repeal it, so they should get it. good and hard.

All the government shutdown did—a shutdown that the republicans didn’t have any plan to implement, by the way—is expose the Republicans as ineffective and, ultimately, feckless. So, this appears to be ending exactly as I knew it would, with the Republicans having accomplished nothing but cause an unnecessary uproar for a couple of weeks, and obscure the Obamacare rollout’s failure.

It doesn’t do much real-world good to temporarily stand for your principles, without any thought-out plan or strategy, knowing you will eventually cave, with the inevitable result of making it measurably more difficult to stand for your principles in the future.

In basic weapons training, one of the first things you learn is that you never pull a gun on someone unless you’re fully ready to put two rounds into the body and one to the head. In this case, the Republicans pulled the gun, brandished it wildly for dramatic effect, and now appear to be ready to calmly snap it back into the holster.


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34 Responses to Well, that didn’t take long

  • In basic weapons training, one of the first things you learn is that you never pull a gun on someone unless you’re fully ready to put two rounds into the body and one to the head. In this case, the Republicans pulled the gun, brandished it wildly for dramatic effect, and now appear to be ready to calmly snap it back into the holster.

    One of my favorite set of lines in a movie is from Gene Hackman in the movie Heist:

    Joe Moore: Why doesn’t he shoot me?
    Fran Moore: That’s the deal.
    Joe Moore: He ain’t gonna shoot me?
    Fran Moore: No.
    Joe Moore: Then he hadn’t ought to point a gun at me. It’s insincere.

  • All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

    What is thy bidding, my Master?

  • Idiots. The Republicans went into this with an unattainable goal and no leverage. And now, they fold, with a whimper.

    I’ve seen political parties prefer to circle jerk rather than accomplish anything (duh, Libertarians). But Republicans are the first I’ve seen to circle jerk each other only to the point of blue balls, and not even cum.


    • First of all, like the sequester, have the majority of Americans noticed its effects beyond what the media has been screaming about?  The bullying tactics of forcibly shutting off public spaces like the World War II memorial on the mall has surely inflicted damage on Obama that, had he behaved with minimal restraint, he might have been spared.
      Beyond this, have there been riots or even public demonstrations against the shutdown?  The political-financial crises in Europe and elsewhere in recent years have seen mass protests and street riots (Spain, Brazil, Greece, Bulgaria, etc).  Where is Occupy Wall Street when Obama needs them?  To the contrary, much more of the political energy appears to be on the Tea Party side right now.  Pretty clearly the shutdown terrifies liberals and journalists—and that’s about it.

  • They may have accomplished one thing by caving, losing control of the House in 2014.  That’s all we need is Democrats being unopposed for another 2 years which happen to be Barry’s last two.  Fools.

    • Nah. The Democrats would need a wave election to retake control of the house. Not usually gonna happen in the last two years of an incumbent president’s second term.

    • This is an internal GOP struggle – and the establishment is going to win.   But the Republicans did get the game played on their playing field, and actually will come out of this with their budgetary positions getting a win on many fronts.  They’ll lose on Obamacare, but if it collapses, eventually that will change too.  I think McConnell and Boehner are actually doing very well against Obama and Reid, mostly on the weight of past victories.  This will be a big loss to the hard core conservative faction of the GOP, but will shift the balance of party power to the centrists.  That is what the GOP needs.  If they can find someone who can proclaim conservative values for the 21st century that is not rooted in a nostalgic “America has to get back to what it was” meme, 2016 could be a very good year for the Republicans.  This could be seen as a turning point, where things are darkest before the dawn.

      • If they can find someone who can proclaim conservative values for the 21st century…

        And what, Erp would those look like?  Perhaps you can give us an idea…just approximately…when you think human nature changed.
        Give it a try.

      • “… will shift the balance of party power to the centrists.  That is what the GOP needs.”
        This is what Democrats have been telling Republicans since Clinton.   If Clinton hadn’t generated an “anybody but Clinton” mentality, the Republicans would have lost every election since.
        Obama and ObamaDoesn’tCare has generated a “part-time” nation.  So how many part-timers do you have up there behind the ivy covered walls now ?
        “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; fool me for five years, I’m an Obama voter.”

        • Or Scott Erb, but, I’m being redundant.

        • Looker, the GOP has 74% disapproval, the tea party’s support is abysmal.  Your perspective is fringe.  It’s perhaps a needed fringe in the GOP, but the country is not ideological or extremist, and will punish either party when the ideologues take over.  Clinton and Obama succeed because they represent the center of their party (note how the left is harsh in its criticism of Obama as always caving to the GOP and being ‘Republican light.’)   If the Kucinich wing of the Democrats dominated, they’d face the same problem.  But hey – we’ll see what happens.  But I think the Republican party is learning a lesson – emotion and extremism do not yield solid conservatism.

          • Clinton and Obama succeed because they represent the center of their party…

            First, they succeeded (in getting elected) because they lied about who and what they were, and had a duplicitous press working for them.
            Second, BULLSHIT.  Clinton was not “no negotiations” Barracula.

            …emotion and extremism do not yield solid conservatism

            No.  They yield ObamaDoggle, gun control, TARP, Porkulous, etc.

          • Which was the same silly story you told in 2010.   Not a fast learner are you.
            We all recall how that worked out.   I believe you had to admit you were wrong.
            That can happen again.   I bet it does.
            Just because John McCain is a RINO ass that agrees with YOU Senator, doesn’t mean he’s right.

          • And would you dare to explain how not wanting to spend money we don’t have on government we don’t NEED is a ‘fringe’ attitude.
            You’re a twit.   You saying things are and are not don’t make them any more real than my saying they are, or are not.

          • I’m waiting – explain how wanting fiscal responsibility is a fringe attitude.
            Explain what kind of attitude thinks we can continue to spend money we don’t have to play Santa Claus to citizens?
            What kind of realistic attitude is that?   How is that being the ‘mainstream’ attitude a good thing?   How does it NOT lead to collapse of the country we’ve been?
            And you don’t get to hand wave and say ‘people will have to compromise, blah blah blah blah’.
            You have to explain how an entitlement society can continue to function and how the government running as it does can continue to provide handouts and play momma to it’s citizens without us being Greece or some third world marginal nation.

          • “Your perspective is fringe.”

            Twice as many people identify as “conservative” than as “liberal.” It is your perspective that is fringe, it is simply in control of the levers of power (academia, MSM and the permanent government) thus they can push the false image that they are “mainstream.”

      • “This will be a big loss to the hard core conservative faction of the GOP, but will shift the balance of party power to the centrists.”
        You wish.
        This pissed a lot of people off, and a lot of Republicans can expect to see primary challenges.
        Kind of a bitch when they’re spending their warfund cash to fight off “Republican” contenders in primaries before they tangle with the Democrats.
        I already know you’re as big a fool as I think you are so I won’t say you’re one because you think the Tea Party is going to lose and the GOP RINO useless idiot Ruling Party are going to triumph because of all this.   You’ve been prematurely pronouncing the death of the Tea Party for 4 years.

        • The gangster government revelation, stripping the Collective of any pretense at giving a flying fluck about troops, vets, children, businesses or people generally has been worth the whole deal, IMNHO.
          LOVE it when you can expose these pukes for who they really are…!!!
          But ANOTHER benefit is the exposure of some of the ball-less wonders in the GOP as the craven political-class hacks they are.  Nice job of delineation.

  • Y’know when we planted Ted, GeorgeS was just hoping to agitate the wingnuts a little.   Somehow that kid’s managed to dismantle the opposition for us :-O


    Oh, goodie!  Astroturfing…!!!

    Wonder if the Barrycades will be removed?  And how much the attendees will be paid?

    • Hell, I’d like them to prove they’re at least hiring citizens.

    • “Budget shutdown Day of Action”
      Do they understand we don’t HAVE a budget?   MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM Kool-aid……
      And as Achillea says, we don’t have a debt ceiling, we have a hat.

    • Can they still call it “Action” if no one comes and nothing happens? /zenkoan

    • See above for how this massive anti-tea party protest is working out today.

  • Well, MAYBE it will take longer than Dale thought…

    “What they’ll come up with in the Senate will not get the support of most House Republicans,” says a House conservative strategist. “ And thus, after a lot of hand-wringing, it’ll be DOA.  Just like with BCA in 2011, the most important question is, what can pass the House?  Everything else is subordinate to that.  So, while the Senate is taking the lead right now, I expect the focus will soon shift back to the House, and back to the idea of doing a 6-week extension of the debt ceiling.  While Obama and Reid won’t like it, they don’t want to go past Oct. 17 either – the politics of the debt ceiling are different from the shutdown. And so, [we feel] they’ll reluctantly accept it as a stopgap measure.”
    “How can folks be satisfied with income verification being put into place?” asks a top House conservative aide. “That was already law of the land, and the administration just chose to delay it. Just another thing that I think McConnell can be dinged on. I just don’t see how there can be widespread support for this in the conference in the House, and I am amazed at how much bad blood has developed between House and Senate Republicans the past few days.”
    Senate conservatives, for their part, are also skeptical, and at least a handful of them are planning to complain to Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell this morning when Senate Republicans meet. Senators Lee, Cruz, and their allies aren’t expected to back it.  “Things are still fluid,” explains a Senate Republian aide. “The initial buzz wasn’t great. It was seen as a really small step forward, like a free Coke and pack of crackers. Nice, but nothing to write home about.”

  • President Obama and Defense Secretary Hagel distributed through the Defense Department’s communications systems a nakedly political appeal to all government employees. It is the most direct kind of politics – an attack on the political positions of the partisan opposition, rendered in unabashedly political terms. DoD employees are praised for performing their (well compensated) jobs
    The fact that the Obama administration, the source of this message, is the actual cause of the ongoing partial shutdown of government is beside the point. The question of who is responsible for the shutdown (and the pay freeze, and the sequester cuts …) is patently political. This Obama message to all employees is a willfully partisan attempt to assign political blame to the authors’ partisan opposition.
    As Ross shows, the message proceeds to be even more unabashedly political:
    —Andy McCarthy
    Which is ANOTHER act of outright outlawry.
    A violation of the Hatch Act.
    But just another crime by the Obamabanana Republic.