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Old 10-01-2013, 12:27 AM  
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For House Republicans, confrontation is safer than compromise

By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON | Tue Oct 1, 2013 1:04am EDT

(Reuters) - For most Republicans in the House of Representatives, the only greater peril than shutting down the federal government would have been fighting to keep it open.

While a shutdown could hurt the Republican Party's ability to win the Senate next year or take the White House in 2016, that's not the concern of party members in the House, who led the push to pair continued government funding with measures that would delay President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

"There's a large cohort of members here who don't feel themselves harmed by a bad brand name for the party," said Sarah Binder, an expert on Congress at the Brookings Institution.

Instead, the peril comes from being seen as too flexible.

Republicans won control of the House in 2010 with help from the grassroots Tea Party movement, which combines strident conservatism with a mistrust of Washington dealmaking.

The standing of the movement in public opinion polls has declined somewhat since then, according to a recent nationwide Gallup poll.

Tea Party lawmakers don't run for office nationally, but in districts where they are more secure than ever in their jobs, thanks to careful redistricting after the 2010 census and increased polarization among voters.

The Cook Political Report, a Washington tipsheet, estimates that 205 of the chamber's 232 Republicans can count on a safe re-election race a year from now. Only 11 Republican seats are viewed as competitive.

With little pressure to court centrist voters, Tea Party-aligned Republicans face greater pressure to show conservative activists that they are staying true to their ideological roots than working to keep the government operating effectively.

Thus it may be easier to allow the government to run out of money rather than face accusations that they did not fight hard enough against Obama's Affordable Care Act.

"They're in a much better position when they go home and explain a 'no' vote that they cast as a protest vote against the White House than a 'yes' vote where they have to explain what they voted for," said Kevin Madden, a former Republican House leadership aide.

HEADS THEY LOSE, TAILS THEY LOSE

Republicans stood little chance of emerging victorious from the fight. Obamacare will begin enrolling uninsured Americans as scheduled on Tuesday, and if the government shuts down, voters are likely to blame Republicans.

A CNN poll released on Monday found that 46 percent of those surveyed would hold Republicans responsible, while 36 would blame Obama. The poll also found that two of three voters say it's more important to keep the government open than to block Obamacare.

As House Republicans worry more about a challenge to their right flank than defeat from a Democratic challenger back home, they push their party farther from the mainstream even as their own seats remain secure.

That could complicate the party's efforts to appeal to a greater cross-section of American voters nationally after two successive presidential defeats, veteran Republicans say.

"It's a definite move towards helping make sure that the Republican Party is a regional party that probably controls the House of Representatives for the foreseeable future, but jeopardizes the ability to take back the Senate and the White House in 2016," said former Representative Steve LaTourette, a moderate Republican who retired last year.

Paradoxically, the secure electoral status of Tea Party lawmakers has undercut their party's ability to advance its agenda. House Speaker John Boehner has struggled to keep his party unified on key votes ranging from farm policy to transportation issues to tax increases.

Those Republicans who have defied Boehner most consistently tend to come from districts where Obama only won 35 percent of the vote in the 2012 election, according to an analysis by Binder. Those who have consistently backed him on high-profile votes are from districts where Obama got an average of 43 percent of the vote.

Boehner had trouble keeping his troops in line during the shutdown fight as well. Mindful of the negative fallout his party faced from the last government shutdown in 1995 and 1996, he urged his colleagues to avoid a confrontation.

But his words have carried little weight. House Republicans voted three separate times to pair continued government funding with steps that would weaken Obamacare despite a veto threat from the president.

No matter how the current battle ends, other showdowns - notably the debt ceiling - loom in coming weeks as conservative lawmakers look for additional chances to stand up to Obama.

"There's going to be a number of crises from here all the way to Election Day," Madden said. "This is only one part of all these battles."

(Editing by Fred Barbash and Philip Barbara)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...&dlvrit=574655
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:25 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
I think it would be a compromise. I don't think Obamacare is reasonable.

But the difference between the current compromise offer and your example is huge. Republicans are seeking a one year delay in the implementation of one facet of Obamacare that mirrors another facet that has already been delayed, a repeal of another relatively minor component (a tax that is unpopular with both Republicans and democrats), and a conscience-based exception that has already been endorsed by at least one federal court as constitutionally required. The compromise in your example is the creation of a vast new entitlement.
Ha. If only Obama had started by demanding outrageous unilateral policy concessions from Republicans in exchange for performing the most basic aspect of his job, pat would today be hailing him as "the Great Compromiser."

Good lord. Take a step back.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:26 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
And what possible reason would Obama/Democrats have to believe that the Republicans wouldn't do the exact same thing next year? And the year after?

Obama would have to be a moron to go for this "deal".
Maybe they should have thought of that before funding their diadem legislation with a new tax.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:34 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by FD View Post
Ha. If only Obama had started by demanding outrageous unilateral policy concessions from Republicans in exchange for performing the most basic aspect of his job, pat would today be hailing him as "the Great Compromiser."

Good lord. Take a step back.
That's impossible for patty. He is a far right gop talking point machine.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:39 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
And what possible reason would Obama/Democrats have to believe that the Republicans wouldn't do the exact same thing next year? And the year after?

Obama would have to be a moron to go for this "deal".
So you think Obama should shut down government, right? A shutdown can't be much of a catastrophe if you're advocating that rather than expecting our Congress to be able to come up with a negotiated budget that a majority in both houses (60 in the Senate) can live with.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:42 AM   #20
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:46 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
So you think Obama should shut down government, right? A shutdown can't be much of a catastrophe if you're advocating that rather than expecting our Congress to be able to come up with a negotiated budget that a majority in both houses (60 in the Senate) can live with.

So on the one side you have the White House and the majority of the Senate, backed by the results of the 2012 election, in which Obamacare was an INTEGRAL part of the campaign, and where Obama was re-elected by a very solid majority.

On the other side you have the House Republicans, somewhat fractured, but for now holding together to refuse to pass any funding bill that doesn't include defunding Obamacare.

And because the House Republicans can't get their way, it's the first group that are responsible for shutting down the government?

That's your position?

Well, ok then.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:46 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by gblowfish View Post
I found this article to be quite appropriate for this forum and this thread:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/man...ly-defe,34022/

Quote:
SEATTLE—As debate continues in Washington over the funding of President Obama’s health care initiative, sources confirmed Thursday that 39-year-old Daniel Seaver, a man who understands a total of 8 percent of the Affordable Care Act, offered a vehement defense of the legislation to 41-year-old Alex Crawford, who understands 5 percent of it.

“First of all, Obamacare will reduce insurance premiums for most people, and no one can be denied coverage if they have preexisting conditions and stuff like that,” said Seaver, displaying over half of his 8 percent grasp on the sweeping health care reform policy. “Which means a whole bunch of uninsured Americans—I’m talking millions of people here—will finally have access to health care. How can you not get behind that?”

“And Medicare has nothing to do with this, by the way—that’s a separate thing,” continued Seaver, adding one of the few remaining facts he knows about Obamacare. “This just deals with the private insurance companies and makes sure they can’t, you know, drive up costs through the roof.”

According to reports, Seaver mounted an impressive case given his severely limited knowledge of the actual law itself, bolstering his 8 percent understanding of the Affordable Care Act with his 6 percent awareness of the nation’s current economic landscape. Crawford, meanwhile, demonstrated just about the full extent of his understanding of Obamacare by claiming that its provisions could potentially kill jobs.

Sources confirmed that, if asked, neither man would actually be able to correctly define the term “HMO” or coherently explain what a health care exchange actually is and how such a thing would actually work on a regional basis.

“If you get insurance through your job, you can keep it, so this won’t affect a lot of people,” said Seaver, failing to incorporate roughly 90 percent of the bill’s actual groundwork into his semi-accurate assertion. “It’ll really only change things for really poor people who live below the poverty line. That’s it.”

“Saying this is somehow a government takeover of the healthcare industry is, quite frankly, a flat-out lie,” added Seaver, forcefully and passionately summarizing what he remembers from an informed person’s opinion he read on a website recently. “All this does is offer a public option.”

Over the course of the next half hour, the two men used their full comprehension of what reportedly amounts to several sentences at best of the Affordable Care Act to debate many facets of the 906-page piece of legislation. On separate occasions, sources said Seaver and Crawford both claimed to have done “a lot of research” on the subject.

“Okay, I hear your points, but I think there are a lot of other factors to consider,” said Crawford, boldly countering Seaver’s 8 percent knowledge of the subject with his own 5 percent familiarity with it. “It’s actually going to raise insurance costs for most people. The way it actually works is, see, there are different tiers. And these different tiers, or levels or whatever, have different co-payments. And then there’s the individual mandate, which means you’re required by law to get insurance, otherwise you pay higher taxes. So, you see, there are all these other things to think about.”

“Are you starting to get it?” Crawford added, after almost completely emptying his accumulated knowledge on the subject in one fell swoop. “It’s complicated, for sure.”

The two men, whose collective net understanding reportedly makes up, in a generous estimate, little more than one one-tenth of the entire Affordable Care Act, then repeatedly volleyed back and forth over the constitutionality of the law—a matter that sources confirmed they have a roughly 0.000001 percent knowledge of.

Sources also confirmed that the two men independently opted not to introduce at all the subjects of prescription drugs, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the law’s effect on small business owners, exemptions, state costs, specific penalties for opting out, effects on the marketplace, the nation’s existing overall quality of health care, any specific statistic whatsoever, and the federal budget.

“Hold on, Alex, let’s go back to the premiums for a second, because I feel like I need to drive this point home for you: they’ll get lower for most people,” said Seaver, straining the very limits of his 8 percent comprehension of the bill to the point of utter collapse. “Lower premiums, lower deductibles, and no denial of coverage to people with preexisting conditions.”

“Way lower premiums,” Seaver added.

At press time, both men’s understanding of Obamacare had dropped to 3 percent as a result of the debate.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:46 AM   #23
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Ha. If only Obama had started by demanding outrageous unilateral policy concessions from Republicans in exchange for performing the most basic aspect of his job, pat would today be hailing him as "the Great Compromiser."

Good lord. Take a step back.
If he had, my criticism of him wouldn't be that he's unwilling to compromise.

Passing a continuing resolution isn't a "most basic aspect" of a Congressman's job. Hashing out a compromise on a budget is basic, but that's different than giving the President and his party everything they want just because they're happy with the status quo that they set in place when they had a stranglehold on the legislative process. Sorry, but as Obama supporters are often happy to point out, elections have consequences and Republicans have been elected to change some of the excesses of the era of democrat dominance.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:52 AM   #24
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So on the one side you have the White House and the majority of the Senate, backed by the results of the 2012 election, in which Obamacare was an INTEGRAL part of the campaign, and where Obama was re-elected by a very solid majority.

On the other side you have the House Republicans, somewhat fractured, but for now holding together to refuse to pass any funding bill that doesn't include defunding Obamacare.

And because the House Republicans can't get their way, it's the first group that are responsible for shutting down the government?

That's your position?

Well, ok then.
When a bill that funds government in all respects except some limited aspects of one program and Senate democrats reject it or the President vetoes it, yes, it's their fault that the government is being shut down. They chose Obamacare in it's full glory over all the federal functions and employees that are impacted by a shutdown.

BTW, Republicans won elections and have a responsibility to their constituents too. And Obama's campaign certainly didn't highlight Obamacare in a way that would lead any reasonable person to see his reelection as an endorsement of that program.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:52 AM   #25
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If he had, my criticism of him wouldn't be that he's unwilling to compromise.

Passing a continuing resolution isn't a "most basic aspect" of a Congressman's job. Hashing out a compromise on a budget is basic, but that's different than giving the President and his party everything they want just because they're happy with the status quo that they set in place when they had a stranglehold on the legislative process. Sorry, but as Obama supporters are often happy to point out, elections have consequences and Republicans have been elected to change some of the excesses of the era of democrat dominance.

The Presidential election also has consequences. So do polls, which seem to line up solidly against the Republicans here. Of course, as the OP mentions, those polls may not apply to any given Republican's district, but the Republicans strategy here may well cost them national elections down the road, if they continue on with it indefinitely. This is only the first of a host of budget battles that are looming.

The bottom line is that the Republicans are far more likely to cave than the Democrats, given polls, and that is going to mean the Republicans shot themselves in the foot for no real gain, which is just dumb.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:54 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
The Presidential election also has consequences.
My reference to election consequences was a response to this point which has been made ad nauseum.

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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
So do polls, which seem to line up solidly against the Republicans here. Of course, as the OP mentions, those polls may not apply to any given Republican's district, but the Republicans strategy here may well cost them national elections down the road, if they continue on with it indefinitely. This is only the first of a host of budget battles that are looming.

The bottom line is that the Republicans are far more likely to cave than the Democrats, given polls, and that is going to mean the Republicans shot themselves in the foot for no real gain, which is just dumb.
The only polls that have consequences are elections.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:55 AM   #27
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When a bill that funds government in all respects except some limited aspects of one program and Senate democrats reject it or the President vetoes it, yes, it's their fault that the government is being shut down. They chose Obamacare in it's full glory over all the federal functions and employees that are impacted by a shutdown.

BTW, Republicans won elections and have a responsibility to their constituents too. And Obama's campaign certainly didn't highlight Obamacare in a way that would lead any reasonable person to see his reelection as an endorsement of that program.



You can take this position and spout the party line, but the polls show somethng like 2/3rds of voters thinking this is the Republicans' fault moreso than the Democrats.

The Republicans are adopting a very risky strategy which appears very, very likely to backfire on them for no appreciable gain. I understand the Tea Party Reps motivations, but I don't think they're really doing themselves any favors.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:55 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
If he had, my criticism of him wouldn't be that he's unwilling to compromise.

Passing a continuing resolution isn't a "most basic aspect" of a Congressman's job. Hashing out a compromise on a budget is basic, but that's different than giving the President and his party everything they want just because they're happy with the status quo that they set in place when they had a stranglehold on the legislative process. Sorry, but as Obama supporters are often happy to point out, elections have consequences and Republicans have been elected to change some of the excesses of the era of democrat dominance.
You are tying yourself in knots with this but I cant imagine you actually believe this line of reasoning. Both sides agree on the level of spending in the CR, the GOP is using the shutdown to try to enact unilateral concessions on health care reform, and the senate and Obama are asking for nothing, no concessions at all.

The GOP plan to extract unilateral concessions on the CR and debt limit has been planned and discussed publicly since Williamsburg back in January. They aren't hiding it, you can't spin it away, its their publicly stated strategy.

I'll also point out that the senate dems have already made pretty large concessions on the CR. Their original funding bill funded the government at much higher levels, the House insisted on sequester level spending, and the senate caved in.

But if you want to keep carrying water and trying to pin this on Obama thats fine with me, I'll just say good luck, because you'll need it.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:56 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
So on the one side you have the White House and the majority of the Senate, backed by the results of the 2012 election, in which Obamacare was an INTEGRAL part of the campaign, and where Obama was re-elected by a very solid majority.

On the other side you have the House Republicans, somewhat fractured, but for now holding together to refuse to pass any funding bill that doesn't include defunding Obamacare.

And because the House Republicans can't get their way, it's the first group that are responsible for shutting down the government?

That's your position?

Well, ok then.


Here we go again! Libs 2012: "so happy Romney got the nomination, now the GOP can't run against obamacare!"


Libs 2013: "Obama won re-election with the major issue being Obamacare!"



(Lib logic is always impossible to follow)
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:56 AM   #30
Amnorix Amnorix is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Boston, Mass.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
My reference to election consequences was a response to this point which has been made ad nauseum.
In discussions in which I have not read or participated.


Quote:
The only polls that have consequences are elections.

Politicans typically think otherwise. Newt and his team certainly did during the last shutdown...
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