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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, 08:59 AM   #31
Amnorix Amnorix is offline
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Originally Posted by Prison Bitch View Post
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)

The "Lib 2012" position you state became incorrect when Romney DID run against Obamacare, despite the vast hypocrisy involved in doing so.

In this case, "Lib logic" was based on the incorrect assumption that the "no flip-flops EVER" party wouldn't let Romney flip-flop in the most dramatic fashion I can ever remember from a politician (which is saying quite alot).

Republicans rarely talk about flip-flops anymore, I notice...
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:00 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post


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.
I don't disagree with you here. The perception may well lead to a political black eye for Republicans. I was talking about reality rather than misguided perception.

Reality: House Republicans are offering a compromise while Reid/Obama are intransigent.

Reality: House Republicans are originating bills that would fund the vast majority of government serivces while Reid/Obama promise to block the funding in favor of a shutdown.

Perception: Republicans are always to blame.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:01 AM   #33
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The guy is schizophrenic. I used to enjoy reading him, but it's hard to keep up with his wild mood swings.
...says the guy who changes his teen-like crush on politicians every few months.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:04 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
In discussions in which I have not read or participated.
OK, fair enough.

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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
Politicans typically think otherwise. Newt and his team certainly did during the last shutdown...
Polls certainly have a practical effect in terms of influence on politicians because they have some predictive power when it comes to elections. But they don't have consequences in the same sense that elections do because even if a politician decides to act inspite of an unfavorable poll, they still have time to turn that opinion around before the next election.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:05 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
The "Lib 2012" position you state became incorrect when Romney DID run against Obamacare, despite the vast hypocrisy involved in doing so.

In this case, "Lib logic" was based on the incorrect assumption that the "no flip-flops EVER" party wouldn't let Romney flip-flop in the most dramatic fashion I can ever remember from a politician (which is saying quite alot).

Republicans rarely talk about flip-flops anymore, I notice...

That doesn't work, because all I hear from libs is: "But this is a Republcan idea anyway! We wanted the public option you know?" So if Obamacare is really Romneycare and its not even what te Party wants......how can you say they actually "won" on someone else's idea?



Either it's the Dems idea and they won or its the GOP's and hence irrelevant to 2012 results. You pick.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:06 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
...says the guy who changes his teen-like crush on politicians every few months.
...says the guy whose lifelong political crush is as ingrained as Team Edward/Team Jacob.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:08 AM   #37
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I don't disagree with you here. The perception may well lead to a political black eye for Republicans. I was talking about reality rather than misguided perception.

Reality: House Republicans are offering a compromise while Reid/Obama are intransigent.

Reality: House Republicans are originating bills that would fund the vast majority of government serivces while Reid/Obama promise to block the funding in favor of a shutdown.

Perception: Republicans are always to blame.

I do alot of negotiating in real life, as do you I imagine. You must know that the "compromise" isn't ever going to be acceptable. As such, it's not really a compromise at all, it's just political posturing. The Democrats would have to STUPID to accept that "compromise"

The perception is that Republicans are shutting down the entire government in an effort to block Obamacare from being implemented. That perception is also reality. You can spin it the other way, and what you say is true, but the Democrats have told them to send a "clean" funding bill -- without the add-ons that Republicans want, and Republicans refuse.

Frankly, it takes two to tango, and two to shut down government. The two sides are intransigent, so you can blame both, legitimately, but the Republcians are losing the public relations war over this, and they're NOT going to ultimately delay/defund Obamacare, so their strategy appears poor to me.

Fight a fight you can't win and which will have no beneficial consequences (from your point of view) = stupid.

Maybe they can pull a rabbit out of the hat, but I think they need to start looking for it, as they've got themselves in a bit of a corner.


Unless, of course, they really will keep government shut down indefinitely. If they can stick to it and have a Jesse Helms view on government and level of stubborness, then maybe Democrats cave first. Seems the caucus is too fractured for that, however.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:10 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
OK, fair enough.



Polls certainly have a practical effect in terms of influence on politicians because they have some predictive power when it comes to elections. But they don't have consequences in the same sense that elections do because even if a politician decides to act inspite of an unfavorable poll, they still have time to turn that opinion around before the next election.

Even elections have limited consequences. See our posts above re: whether Obamacare was part of why Obama won, or why Republicans took the House back, etc.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:11 AM   #39
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That doesn't work, because all I hear from libs is: "But this is a Republcan idea anyway! We wanted the public option you know?" So if Obamacare is really Romneycare and its not even what te Party wants......how can you say they actually "won" on someone else's idea?



Either it's the Dems idea and they won or its the GOP's and hence irrelevant to 2012 results. You pick.
Maybe what you said makes sense, but mostly I'm just:

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Old 10-01-2013, 09:15 AM   #40
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I do alot of negotiating in real life, as do you I imagine.
I mostly either dictate or capitulate depending on the situation, to be honest.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:19 AM   #41
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...says the guy whose lifelong political crush is as ingrained as Team Edward/Team Jacob.
White knight to the rescue...

I don't know what that is, but if you're implying Obama as my lifetime crush, you overestimate my affection an undersestimate the length of my lifetime.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:20 AM   #42
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I mostly either dictate or capitulate depending on the situation, to be honest.

Expediency has its own advantages, no question about it.

But sometimes, there are no expedient options, and then protracted negotiations are all that is left. Sometimes people include worthless supposed carrots in negotations, hoping the other side is too dumb to realize how worthless they are, but in my world people rarely bother.

Then again, my world doesn't have 350 million people looking over its shoulders, and public perception over who is being "more fair" is irrelevant.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:28 AM   #43
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That's a bit redundant. The democrat gain is the same as the Republican concession. In this case, Republicans gave up on defunding Obamacare completely. By contrast, democrats want it all or they're going to blow the place up.

What did the Republicans give up?

See, here is the thing, both parties don't want the government to shut down nor be able to pay the bills. So the Republicans aren't giving anything up by funding the government.

But,Republicans are saying, to fund the government we have to delay obamacare for a year.

What are they offering Democrats? You delay Obamacare, we ???.

The republicans haven't offered nor giving anything up. It isn't a compromise.

Saying delaying Obamacare for a year for, what 90 days of funding isn't a compromise or even close to reasonable, it is punting. Next year, they will try to do the same. or in 90 days.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:37 AM   #44
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Quit griping.

If you don't want to be part of Obamacare, you don't have to. Just get a job in congress. Problem solved.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:37 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
Expediency has its own advantages, no question about it.

But sometimes, there are no expedient options, and then protracted negotiations are all that is left. Sometimes people include worthless supposed carrots in negotations, hoping the other side is too dumb to realize how worthless they are, but in my world people rarely bother.

Then again, my world doesn't have 350 million people looking over its shoulders, and public perception over who is being "more fair" is irrelevant.
Obama has given us quite a few reasons to believe he'll either fall for just about anything and/or cave to just about any pressure. Unfortunately, he has Harry Reid blocking for him when it comes to negotiations with Republicans in Congress. As much as I despise Harry Reid, we need someone like him to protect us from Obama's incompetence in foreign policy.

I acknowledge the wisdom of what you say about negotiations. It would be nice if we had a President with some ability to engage his opposition in fruitful negotiation, but we don't. He's been terrible at bringing the country together. Surely we can agree on that much.
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