What is our bottom line?
Defining victory now that the battle is joined.
For several weeks I have been arguing against using the CR as a vehicle for an Obamacare fight, but now that the battle is joined it is imperative that it ends in a successful outcome. My question now for the community is what outcome or outcomes we would regard as successful. My criticism of the strategy has always been that it appears to be an all-or-nothing fight that can only be won by convincing President Obama to abandon what he considers to be the crown jewel of his Presidency, and that I doubt he cares a whole lot about the harm from a government shutdown other than a basis for expressing outrage against Republican tactics. But we are now locked into a pattern where the House will keep passing CRs that defund or delay Obamacare and the Senate will strip that language and send it back to the House. This will continue until either Boehner and the House GOP or Reid and Obama give in, or until they reach some sort of compromise that is not presently apparent. Perhaps the Senate GOP will start denying Reid cloture, but that just shifts the showdown to Reid vs. McConnell with the result subject to approval by Obama and the House. A long term shutdown would not actually have much impact on Obamacare since it is mostly funded as an entitlement apart from the CR, but the debt limit increase will soon be added to the mix – and that is needed for Obamacare to go forward (along with much else).
So what is “good enough” to end the showdown? Do we need to keep the government shut down indefinately? Could we pass appropriations for most of the government and thereby narrow the scope of the CR and the impact of it’s delay?
Would we be satisfied if Boehner & co. agreed to drop the demand for defunding or delaying Obamacare but got a major concession from the Dems on some other issue? If so, what would be sufficient? Maybe an overall reduction in federal spending? The Ryan plan for Medicaire reform?
Alternatively, would we accept a deal that delayed Obamacare at the cost of approving some other Democratic objective. Maybe a new tax increase, another round of stimulus, or the Senate’s immigration reform plan?
Or what about changing Obamacare rather than delaying or repealing it? How much change would be necessary?