In interviews on Monday, many congressional Republicans argued that their best hope is that the shutdown will be short, the GOP can secure at least one concession from Obama and that voters will forget about the budget debacle by next November, instead applauding them for fighting a health care law they see as completely unworkable.For example:
“I think for either party, it depends on the duration of it, and the impact of it on people’s lives,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas). “If people feel that this is worthwhile, I think it will accrue to the Republicans. If at the end of the day they don’t, I think it will be damaging.”If this is the best Republicans can do to make the case that their shutdown will work to their political advantage, the argument is over before it even started. It's inconceivable that shutting down the government will force Democrats to repeal or defund or delay Obamacare, and everybody knows it. The shutdown will end when Republicans decide to stop making absurd ransom demands.
It's not just that Republicans are pursuing a doomed strategy: It's also that that voters overwhelmingly oppose the strategy, regardless of their position on Obamacare. Poll after poll shows this to be true. Today's Quinnipiac poll has 72 percent of the public opposing the GOP shutdown—and it was taken even before the shutdown began. Moreover, even if you take the shutdown out of the equation, the poll showed that voters overwhelmingly oppose defunding Obamacare by a 58-34 margin.
To recap, Republicans are:
- Pursuing a goal (defunding Obamacare) that Americans do not support.
- To achieve that goal, they are pursuing a strategy (government shutdown) that Americans do not support; and
- Claiming that they could come out of this as political winners—if they can manage to get President Obama and Congressional Democrats to capitulate on Obamacare.
This is the definition of insanity.