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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tea Party Taking GOP Elites on a Kamikaze Ride-Along

Kamikaze run
Karl Rove is scared. That much is very clear. As House Tea Partiers threaten to go on what the Wall Street Journal called a "kamikaze mission" to defund Obamacare, the GOP establishment -- to which Rove definitely belongs -- find themselves strapped into the copilot's seat, without a parachute. As the nose dips down and the engines begin that high-pitched whine, the establishment gets a good look at the size of the USS Obamacare below them and thinks what every kamikaze pilot must've thought -- "This isn't even going to make a dent."

Greg Sargent catches a Rove op-ed and you can practically smell the panic.

In a new Crossroads GPS health-care policy survey conducted in 10 states likely to have competitive Senate races and in House districts that lean Republican or are swing seats, 60% of independents oppose President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. If this holds through 2014, then Republicans should receive another big boost in the midterms. There is, however, one issue on which independents disagree with Republicans: using the threat of a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare. By 58% to 30% in the GPS poll, they oppose defunding ObamaCare if that risks even a temporary shutdown. [...]

But won’t voters be swayed by the arguments for defunding? The GPS poll tested the key arguments put forward by advocates of defunding and Mr. Obama’s response. Independents went with Mr. Obama’s counterpunch 57% to 35%. Voters in Senate battleground states sided with him 59% to 33%. In lean-Republican congressional districts and in swing congressional districts, Mr. Obama won by 56% to 39% and 58% to 33%, respectively. On the other hand, independents support by 51% to 42% delaying ObamaCare’s mandate that individuals buy coverage or pay a fine.


Of course, Tea Party Republicans -- who are most definitely not listening to people like Karl Rove at the moment -- are semi-correct about one thing; this is their last chance to stop Obamacare. Once things really start rolling in 2014, it's most definitely over. At that point, none of their panic-inducing BS is going to pan out, Americans will see their healthcare costs fall, the number of people with coverage will rise, and the anti-Obamacare hysteria that Republican fearmongering has whipped up will pretty much evaporate.

But, of course, it's already too late. Their inability to make a dent in Obamacare the last forty-some times they crashed into it is proof enough of that. The appetite to take down the Affordable Care Act really exists solely in the House. It dies in the Senate and anyone who thinks Pres. Obama would actually sign an anti-Obamacare bill into law is seriously deluded. David Corn made a good point on MSNBC recently (unfortunately, I don't have the video), when he said that the GOP "Kamikaze mission" was an inapt WWII reference. Republicans are much more like the forgotten Japanese soldier at an abandoned outpost who doesn't know the war is over and keeps fighting pointlessly on.

The war on Obamacare is over. Republicans lost. Sargent points out that Rove's Crossroads poll is certainly biased in favor of Republicans, meaning the real numbers are probably worse.

"The poll is obviously one commissioned to advance an argument against defunding, but the very fact that Crossroads GPS — whose mission is to win elections — commissioned it and is calling Republicans’ attention to it is itself noteworthy," he writes. "And it finds independents in key districts and states tilt heavily against the current GOP effort to sabotage Obamacare with a government shutdown threat, even though they also overwhelmingly disapprove of the law. And they support the Obama argument over the GOP one on defunding (though seeing question wording would be key here)."

But Rove -- and the rest of the GOP establishment -- are voices squeaking objections in the back seat, unheard over the high-pitched drone of the kamikaze plane's diving engine. To House 'baggers, Sargent writes, "Rove has devolved into little more than a liberal squish and stooge of the tacitly pro-Obamacare GOP establishment, so his warnings will be disregarded. But it’s an ironic outcome that GOP elites now openly worry that anti-Obamacare animus has grown so radical and destructive that the battle over the health law — which GOP elites themselves spent years duping the base into believing would bring about the inexorable collapse of the Obama presidency — is now threatening to do profound, untold damage to the Republican Party."

That's the nature of the kamikaze run; the ship goes sailing on, but the kamikaze pilots do not survive. If a government shutdown -- which, I should add, could still be avoided -- wouldn't pointlessly hurt the nation, I'd welcome the suicidal efforts of Tea Party Republicans and applaud as the fireball lit up the sky. But this isn't going to turn out well for anyone, it'll just do the most damage to the GOP.


[photo via Wikimedia Commons]

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