Don't Blink

Jeffrey Lord, a former aide to Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan, writes that, the 2013 shutdown worked and despite his vilification by the Republican establishment [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] won.

As you surely recall, the Cruz effort to defund the ever unpopular ObamaCare resulted in the biased media wing of the Democrats’ Party falling in line for President Obama and blaming his shutdown on Republicans and Conservatives.

Worse was the dozens of members of the Republican establishment who could not say enough about how bad they thought the Defund ObamaCare strategy was. Think Progress ran an article titled, “49 Republicans Who Say Shutting Down The Government Over Obamacare Is A Big Mistake.” The Republican naysayers even included some now considered potential 2016 presidential contenders:

  • Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ): “I think there’s got to be a solution other than that. And I don’t think that we should be doing that. I don’t think — and I quite frankly, be fair, I don’t think you hear responsible Republican leaders advocating a shutdown of the government.”
  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: “So as we get closer to these deadlines, there needs to be an understanding of that, or politically it’s quite dicey for the Republican Party.”
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: “We’re more effective tactically not to use a shutdown of some kind to pursue the… anti-Obamacare objective. I don’t think that will be as effective.”
  • Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI): “I believe the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable, and will have a negative impact on the economy of my state… But I don’t extend that to the point that we should shut down the government over it.”
  • [mc_name name=’Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000570′ ] (R-WI): “We have to stay on the right side of public opinion…Shutting down the government puts us on the wrong side. The fight is on the debt limit.”
  • [mc_name name=’Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000449′ ] (R-OH): “I do think we need to deal with the underlying problem of overspending and we have to deal with the problem of Obamacare, but those ought to be handled outside of the context of a government shutdown.”

As Lord put it, “they all got it wrong. Not just wrong, but Big Time Wrong.”:

A week ago the Republican Party — barely a year away from the government shut down these folks were bewailing in various terms as bad strategy that “will lose more” for Republicans than Democrats — won a blowout election.

Again, the Republicans increased the House GOP majority, as of this writing, to 244 seats, the biggest advantage since the Truman administration. (Note to those who came in late: Harry Truman left office in January of 1953 — 61 years ago.) The GOP recaptured the Senate, with a majority ranging from 52 to 54 seats depending on undecided results. They gained governors in the bluest of blue states of Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois. And on went the red tide, washing over state legislatures as well.

What Ted Cruz accomplished last fall was drawing a very bright Reaganesque line that differentiated Republicans from Democrats. Political disaster was uniformly predicted. Instead? The exact opposite happened.

Lord isn’t the only one who thinks the 2013 shutdown worked against the Obamacrats. Even Doug Sosnik, a Democratic political strategist and former political director in President Bill Clinton’s White House, credits the shutdown with helping turn the tide against bigger government:

Since Obama became president, the number of Americans who want to expand the role of the federal government has decreased sharply. Ironically, last year’s Republican-led government shutdown was overwhelmingly unpopular, but it further hardened the belief that our federal government is broken and that it’s time to stop looking to Washington to solve the country’s big problems.

Thank you Ted Cruz for your strong Reaganesque stand against ObamaCare. The newly empowered GOP leadership should thank you as well.