Now that the federal government has partially shutdown, the Republicans are primed to win this side of the fight over Obamacare if they play their cards correctly.
Unlike the Newt Gingrich-led shutdown of 1995 which was about broad-based cuts to many programs including Medicare, the trigger of the shutdown comes from the discretionary funding for Obamacare.
It constitutes a small portion of the federal budget and its functions are mostly housed in U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
Therefore, if Republicans want to defund that part of Obamacare, it can do so by offering to fund every other part of government through the strategy of mini-CRs as Ted Cruz has advocated doing.
Americans may disapprove of the government shutdown, but that does not mean they’d rather have no government than most of government working.
Those who have been furloughed and have had their funding cut by the shutdown will demand Congress find a solution now, even if it is imperfect (aka no clean CR).
The Democrats’ strategy is to have nothing open rather than having something open, but Americans won’t stand for this, especially if the shutdown drags on for more than a week.
Conservatives should pressure Democrats to reopen almost everything to get over this impasse.
They should take up liberal whining about cuts to Headstart and WIC and agree to use mini-CRs to get them open right now.
This strategy doesn’t have to mean only high profile government functions get reopened, even obscure ones would be fine as well.
What matters is that the message must be that Democrats won’t reopen government unless that small part of government that impacts Obamacare is restored.
I believe that Americans will find that position untenable and will pressure Democrats to vote to restore most of the functions of government regardless of whether or not the funding for Obamacare is also restored.
Conservative and Republicans need not cave to the demands by Obama because now that the shutdown has occurred, the right strategy is to get Democrats to be put in a position to be against reopening most of the government which is at odds with most Americans.