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I love Sen. Ted Cruz. I’m a huge fan of Sen. Rand Paul as well. I’m not one who cozies up with establishment Republicans. In fact, I find – at times – moderate Republicans to be more spineless than liberals. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean I need to agree with everything the Tea Party does concerning fighting Obamacare. We’re heading for rocky shoals with this defund effort, and we can kill this massive federal power grab if we delay the individual mandate.
As we speak, Sen. Cruz is speaking about his opposition to Obamacare. He’ll be going on for a while about this subject. Yet, it’s not a real filibuster. Democrats have the sixty votes for cloture. They have a vote set for Wednesday. This will be the definition of anti-climatic.
As Byron York of the Washington Examiner noted on September 19:
Senate rules, which Reid will enforce, will limit the debate on the measure to 30 hours, divided evenly between the parties. That gives Republicans 15 hours, to be divided between 46 GOP senators. That’s not a lot of time. It’s possible the Republican caucus could decide to allow Cruz to filibuster for an extended period of time. But it’s unlikely, given the other senators who will likely want to speak out on the issue. In March, the Rand Paul filibuster went on for nearly 13 hours; don’t look for something like that to happen this time.
So Republicans don’t have the votes to actually filibuster a continuing resolution, and they don’t have the rules on their side to stage a talking filibuster. Supporters of defunding are bound to be disappointed. But the Senate aide says no one should be surprised. “This is not a gimmick or a scheme,” says the aide. “It is Rule 22 of the U.S. Senate. Everybody knew this. This is an existing rule. It is taught in Senate class when you do your orientation. It is not a surprise. Nobody sprung it on him [Sen. Cruz].”
Guy Benson at Townhall had a good piece on how “winning elections is the only way Obamacare will ever be dismantled.” Additionally, Sen. Coburn noted that even if this trips a government shutdown, which would be disastrous for Republicans, Obamacare will still be funded.
The CRS [Congressional Research Service] report notes that much of the administration’s implementation funding comes from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) itself — not from the spending bills some conservatives are threatening to defeat.
Right now, the House is safe in Republicans hands. The U.S. Senate is also winnable. Democrats have zero heavyweight candidates in any of the 2014 races next year. Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina are all up for grabs. A government shutdown will change the whole game, and could make Republican-leaning independents change their minds about next year’s midterms. Obama and the Democrats are salivating over this scenario. In fact, I suspect they’re lusting for it. Let’s not give them the satisfaction.
By delaying Obamacare, we let this issue bleed into 2014 and possibly 2016. The Urban Institute noted yesterday that:
[D]elaying the individual mandate would cause serious disruption to the health-care system and make it difficult for President Obama’s health-care overhaul to get back on track if the mandate were later put back in place. House Republicans recently passed a resolution that would delay the individual mandate by a year.
As Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal wrote last August:
The political calculus is that delay, unlike defund, pushes Democrats to do something that many are already inclined to do. The president himself has endorsed delay for key parts of the bill—the employer mandate, out-of-pocket-caps, income verification requirements. Unions, the bedrock of the liberal base, are demanding wholesale changes in the law. Vulnerable Senate Democrats know the ObamaCare exchanges are a pending disaster, and they are terrified of political fallout. Twenty-two House Democrats in July voted with Republicans to delay the individual mandate.
Let the infection grow.
Democrats will have to defend the ongoing train wreck this new health care law is becoming next year. The Democratic nominee for 2016 will have to defend its so-called merits, which is hard since there are none. The people are growing uneasy about government-run health care. The perfect storm for ripping this bill to shreds is formulating. Yet, Cruz’s well-intentioned, but poorly timed, effort to “defund” Obamacare could put all of this in jeopardy. Sen. Cruz, I respect and admire you, but I can’t support you in this endeavor.