The dreaded Mitch McConnell Obamacare compromise is coming to light this morning. Mitch McConnell has joined forces with Harry Reid to allow Obamacare to be (1) fully funded, (2) without any fixes to the exchange’s glitches, (3) without a delay in the penalty for individual Americans and (4) without permanently stripping out a single word from Obamacare.
The Senate plan funds government through January 15th, including Obamacare; it lifts the debt ceiling through February 7 and possibly beyond. Also, Senator Reid may be willing to give the American people a slight delay in the “medical device tax,” as if a delay on such an arbitrary matter amounts to anything. Also, the sequestration cuts, slowing down the rate of future spending, that Republicans fought so hard for – are fluid once again.
This is a suicide pact for House Republicans if they accept this. Let Mitch McConnell go into early retirement if he wishes, but do not join him. This deal yields Republicans none of their “asks.” Rs passed a budget that defunded Obamacare. Obama refused to negotiate. Rs passed a delay in the individual penalty mandate, Obama refused. Rs passed a repeal of the Medical device tax and Congressional Obamacare subsidies, Obama wouldn’t talk.
Yet somehow, Rs are now giving the D’s, all of their top asks – in return for nothing.
This deal is terrible. Republicans were winning this fight. One can only surmise that Mitch McConnell and other establishment Rs have determined to break conservatives. The goal must be to embarrass conservatives so badly by getting zero concessions that they never cross the Establishment ever again.
Now, the House is putting forward a weak alternative plan to try to keep pace. It is a good strategic move, but fails as it does not include a mandate delay.
Yet, Republicans can still snatch victory from the jaws of defeat if they follow a strong and winning formula that the American people can respect. The attacks on Republicans have always been that this is a pointless temper tantrum that never had any chance of gaining traction. But what if it did gain traction? What if Republicans made this worth America’s while?
The House of Representatives
The House Republican Caucus should stick with its plan as outlined previously by conservative leaders:
- A total defund of Obamacare for one year in return for a Continuing Resolution. In return Republicans should be willing to (1) pass a longer CR or (2) settle for a one-year delay of the individual mandate. This way Republicans live to fight another day and at the end of the year, they can argue to the President that should he fail to provide another delay, millions of Americans will be hit with a penalty/tax. This allows Rs to plan ahead.
- In return for a one year delay or defund, Republicans should pass a short-term debt-ceiling hike that takes us past the first week of January with the understanding that longer term increases will only be granted when offset by future increases in spending.
This is a winning formula. The Senate is leading House Republicans into a dismal loss. Americans will blame the loser for this shutdown. If Republicans allow the President to shut down the government for weeks and get nothing in return, then they should unquestionably be held accountable. But if Republicans win, and they continue to see that while the President’s cuts hurt some, we can recover -- polls will reflect a majority support for cutting future increases in spending and delaying the Obamapenalty on young Americans.
In political terms, Mitch McConnell is acting unethical towards House Republicans. His plan is to cut a bad deal with Senate Democrats, whip-up bi-partisan support and then “jam” the House into passing his plan at the last second when everyone is jittery over not being able to increase the debt ceiling. It is bad form to back your opponents and cut the lifesupport of your allies. Throwing the House under the bus during a bout leaves House Republicans in a really difficult position moving forward as they are pressured by the remainder of the other two branches of government to accede to demands.
Enter: Ted Cruz. Cruz has been vilified in the media for inspiring Republicans to fight on Obamacare. If he loses now, he will with certainty never be an acceptable leader to the moderate wing of the Republican party. Cruz will be openly mocked and hated from all sides. But, if Cruz can re-inspire the Party of Lincoln as he did weeks ago, his future could be limitless – he will be the de facto leader of the opposition. Republicans want a celebrity pol to face off against Hillary? This is the area where stars are made.
Ted Cruz should dare greatly in the arena.
Thus, it falls upon Ted Cruz to challenge Mitch McConnell in the Senate today and tomorrow and Thursday. House conservatives are being systematically targeted by the Reid/McConnell deal. They need cover from their friends in the Senate. If Mitch McConnell means to to bully the House into a deal, the House needs a bigger bully to push back. That man is Ted Cruz. Cruz should oppose the McConnell deal with every fiber of his being. Ted Cruz should:
- Openly oppose the McConnell surrender in full media view, including press conferences, television and radio interviews, the full Ginsburg – whatever it takes.
- Not yield to unanimous consent, thus stumping the Senate and giving House leaders more time to prepare to be jammed.
- Must bring not only Lee, Rubio and Paul into the mix on this issue but must also bring in the support of members that precede the Obama era.
Ted Cruz and Mike Lee cannot stop this surrender on their own, but they can inspire the House to hold strong and demand concessions from the White House. The House will continue to pass bills to keep the government open, but they must have air support from the Senate. If they do that, they can still snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.