Real conservatives supported the government shutdown in October and should make no apologies for that stance. The Republicans proved they could take action to back up their words, and even before the failure of the Obamacare website eclipsed the shutdown in news coverage, Republicans were suffering minimal repercussions.
But let’s be honest, with a seemingly bipartisan “compromise” being proposed that would finally pass a budget, which hasn’t happened for quite a while, it would be silly for Republicans to fall on their sword and push a second shutdown in a row. Yes, the Ryan-Murray solution leaves plenty to be desired, but it will appear to most Americans as a reasonable compromise in a town where the endless gridlock hurts everyone, including those who carry the conservative banner.
It is so very important that Republicans learn to survive to fight another day. And that day is approaching very quickly.
In the first half of 2014, President Obama and his friends will once again be calling for an increase in the federal debt ceiling. And that is the golden goose, the mother’s milk, the end-all be-all for the federal government. At some point, it has to stop. And for once, Republicans seem to be holding the upper hand in potentially using this endless ritual to extract true political change.
Obamacare is, as has been noted by virtually every political pundit and pollster, the most disliked and despised government program of our lifetime. And with every week that passes by, more and more Americans who were expected to love it instead reject it and its creator, President Obama. Recent polls show that even Obama’s most ardent sources of past support, such as younger voters and Hispanic-Latinos, have come to disapprove of President Obama in increasingly large numbers.
By the early spring of this year, more and more Americans will have discovered that this alleged panacea for their future health is instead a red-tape nightmare that limits options, increases costs and leaves people uncertain about their financial and personal future. And at about that same time, the nation will have reached the critical moment at which Congress will again have to raise the debt ceiling or, as we will all be reminded once again, our economy will collapse.
But it is becoming increasingly clear that we are going to run into this bottomless cup of coffee we call the debt ceiling at some point in the future, resulting in the exact same dire economic consequences that have been predicted each time in the past when the possibility of a failure to increase the debt has arisen.
The question conservatives should pose during the next debt ceiling showdown is this: Should we draw the line now, forcing our nation to reconcile with reality, or should we allow the likely phenomenal cost of Obamacare, both in terms of future expense to taxpayers and its ultimate impact on businesses, thus declining tax revenues, or simply kick the can down a little longer?
Strategically, for the Republicans, and fundamentally, for the nation, the answer is to jam Obamacare down the throats of the Democrats and wrap it firmly around the president. Republicans should demand that the onerous, dishonest and despised Affordable Care Act be dismantled before a single Republican votes to increase the debt limit.
Oh, sure, someone like John McCain will come running to the microphones and proclaim that, in order to save our stock markets and our financial institutions, it will be essential not to use the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip. And in the end, the pressure from Wall Street and the White House might be enough to force another “kick the can” accommodation on the debt ceiling down the road once more.
But Republicans and conservatives will have created a permanent link in the mind of the public between future debt increases and what will be a catastrophically disastrous Obamacare, doomed for future failure.
And the stage will have been set for the 2014 elections, allowing Republicans to rightfully proclaim their willingness to end spiraling debt and put an end to the Affordable Care Act. That’s a message that could actually allow the Senate to also become majority Republican, effectively ending President Obama’s reign of increasingly liberal terror.
It’s time for bold action by the GOP ... it’s just a matter of choosing when to take another courageous stand. The debt ceiling fight is the smart one to pick.
Matt Towery heads the polling firm InsiderAdvantage.