in Showdown Over Shutdown
Conservative Republicans are confident they'll avoid blame in 2014 if the government shuts down over the GOP's push to defund Obamacare, despite public polling and historical precedent that indicates the party is putting itself in political peril.
More than a half-dozen conservatives who voted for the House GOP's continuing resolution (CR), which strips funding for President Obama's signature healthcare law, refused to even speculate about the political fallout if their strategy fails and the government is shuttered.
"The Democrats are trying to talk to us about a government shutdown. We passed a CR. They control the Senate. They control the White House. They ought to take our bill up and pass it," said Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), who will face a difficult re-election fight next year.
"It's not on us anymore. It's on the Senate Democrats to come up with a solution."
Added Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), one of the GOP's two-dozen most vulnerable incumbents: "We've got to do the right thing for the American people. I'm more concerned about doing the right thing than the potential fallout."
Several recent polls have shown a majority of voters are against the GOP's strategy. A CNBC poll released Monday found 59 percent oppose the effort to use a shutdown threat to defund Obamacare, and a plurality oppose any attempt to defund the healthcare law...
Democrats must climb a 17-seat mountain to regain the House majority, a difficult prospect in even the most favorable of political climates...
The 1995-96 government shutdown led to a loss of Republican seats in the House and gave President Clinton renewed vigor for future legislative fights.
As recently as July, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), a deputy majority whip, said it was "political suicide" to try and link the defunding of Obamacare to a government shutdown.
But almost to a person, conservative House members contacted by The Hill said voters would fault Obama and Senate Democrats if the government shuts down.
"The only way to fund the government is if [Senate Majority leader Harry] Reid (D-NV), and the majority of Democrat senators vote to pass the bill we're sending them," Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL), a staunch conservative considered vulnerable in 2014, told The Hill.
Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who's running for Senate, accused Obama of wanting to "exact pain" on the American people with a shutdown.
"Maybe the president wants some scenario where he can shut down the government, exacting pain, shutting down the White House [to tours] while he continues to play golf and blame it on Republicans," Cassidy said. "I have no doubt if he can pull that off he'll do it."
Some Republicans believe the party needs only do a better job selling its message.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), said that "it's our responsibility" to change the perception that Republicans are gunning for a shutdown.
"The American people are pretty smart," Blackburn said.
"The American people will see when we keep offering ideas and somebody keeps saying, it's my way or the highway, I think they're pretty smart to that. I think you can look at the president's polling numbers and see they're figuring that out"...
Last week, House Majority PAC accused vulnerable House Republicans of joining "the TEA Party Republican 'suicide squad' and mov[ing] our nation one step closer to a disastrous government shutdown."
Southerland insists he is not concerned.
"I don't think that what [Democrats] think has any bearing on what I do. I expect Democrats to be Democrats," he said. "That doesn't weigh on me doing what I know is in keeping with what the American people want"...
Groups pushing Republicans to adopt a shutdown strategy for the past two months say they won't let up on House members, even if the Senate fails to keep the Obamacare defund provision in the final version of the continuing resolution.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 09/24/2013
Editor's Note: In fact, the cadre of "sky-is-falling" establishment Republicans should take note that the margin that exists between those who say Republicans will reap the blame for a government shutdown and those who believe Democrats will is within every established polling margin of error...So, if they would simply get off their asses and listen to Rep. Blackburn and start messaging for crying out loud...
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