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GOP, Tea Party Missed Mark on Government Shutdown

As I sit and type this column, it looks like we are entering what will hopefully be the last stretch of  the government shutdown/debt ceiling fight/I thought this was originally about the Affordable Care Act debate.

As you are aware, the Obama administration and Congressional Republicans are at odds over the budget. At the center of the shutdown is the GOP demand that the President does what he has done for employers and delays the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act as part of a continuing resolution to keep the government functioning. The President basically told Republicans to “get bent” and thus we are in shutdown mode.

Although I find the ACA to be an abomination, sorry, make that “Obamanation,” the Republicans made a big tactical error by allowing the government to shutdown on Oct. 1.  You see that was the day the health exchanges went online and that was the day millions of people could not get on. I know I was one of them. I was working on a story for nationwide news service and part of my task was to try and log on to the health exchange.

And believe me, I tried.

I tried at 4:15 a.m., 5:15 a.m., 6:15 a.m., and 7:30 a.m., and had no luck. I had a speech to give in Evansville that afternoon, so when I got there I tried to log on again (using my iPad and wireless card) and had no luck. I gave it another shot when I got back and still, no luck! I did finally manage to log in that Friday afternoon, after spending two hours (which could have been spent billing clients). Of course when I finally signed in and clicked the final button I got an error message telling me I would have to try again this past weekend. And guess what, no luck then either because the website was taken down for repairs.

And should have been the narrative.

Millions of people trying to comply with the law couldn’t do it because the Obama administration didn’t have the right infrastructure to get the job done. Instead, the main headline was the government shutdown and the health exchanges were regulated to the second page.  Republicans could have found people in their districts who could not sign on and used that as the perfect propaganda piece. Instead, we get pictures of veterans who have to storm the World War II Memorial because it’s shutdown.

In addition, the GOP had no end game strategy on this. They were expecting the President to blink and likely had no clue as to what their plan would be if he called their bluff. Congress’ approval rating is now at 10 percent.  Of course by the time I post this it could be 5 percent, which, by the way, used car salesmen, root canals, head lice and lawyers have higher approval ratings.

So here we are going into day 12.  And it looks like the grown up Republican in the room is going to be Paul Ryan who is working on a budget deal.   The GOP should have got the hint when Speaker John Boehner earlier said  he would not allow the nation to default on its debts, so using the debt ceiling as a negotiation tool is out. So at the end of the day, what did my Republican friends, I’m sorry, what did the Tea Party conservatives actually accomplish?

Not a darn thing.    I hope this is worth it.


  • malercous

    I love the tea party! They made sure Harry Reid & Claire McCaskill kept their Senate seats. (Both of them would have lost to a moderate Republican)
    I’m all for them shutting down the gov. too. They just can’t stop helping the Dems. They were told beforehand what would happen on both these things, so I’m fairly certain they’re actually liberal Dems who’ve infiltrated the GOP for subversive purposes.
    Also, the way they’re so viscerally opposed to Obamacare is further confirmation since the ACA was originally a conservative idea promoted by the Heritage Foundation (& gobs of Republicans) back in the 90’s.
    Results don’t lie. I’m a liberal Dem & I support the tea party 100%.

  • malercous

    Oops, forgot to give a shout-out to Marlin Stutzman. The GOP had to shut down the gov. for something, although he’s not sure what that is. Sounds reasonable enough, eh?
    Atta boy Marlin, don’t slow your roll. Love you guy.

  • pascal

    http://pjmedia.com/blog/debt-limit-huh-unfunded-liabilities-dwarf-16-7-trillion-ceiling/ So, which political party worries at all about this rather more real problem? It sure isn’t the dumbocraps. And, I don’t think the RINOS are capable of thought. So, it does leave those Taxed Enough Already sorts and no one else. Don’t expect much analysis about the problem from folks who don’t even know there is one.

  • Dave

    Effective strategy results from familiarity with principles; that which articulately endures beyond the distraction or ephemera of “branding.”

    Top-down party management, appointment substituted as “dynamic” choice… who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

  • Steve

    As an employee who has had an HSA for the past 5 years I just wish the Republicans would lay out a plan. Just come up with something that might be better. The HSA cost less to my employer so I have no issues with him going this route.
    The only thing it does is save the insurance company money because rather than a deductible then 80/20 coverage up to the maximum out of pocket amount, the maximum out of pocket comes out of my pocket first. By the way in 1993 there was a bill introduced by 24 Republican Senators trying to establish HSA accounts as a alternative plan to a one payer system proposed by the Clinton’s. So instead of just being against something I wish the Republican Party would actually come up with a plan.
    Let the tea party keep pulling the strings and get used to saying Madam President in 2016.

  • Dave

    FYI: Republican activist & businessman (former CEO, Golden Rule Insurance), Patrick Rooney, is considered to be the father of HSA’s…

  • pascal

    And, becoming an employer means taking on the health care costs of any employees for what good reason? I think employees get paid and can take care of their own health care costs including insurance if that is what they need or think they do. Leave employers out of it-it was a mistake from WWII.