HOUSTON, October 4 — Democrats were not prepared for Republicans to stand up to them on the budget or on Obamacare. They expected business as usual: Democrats take an absolutist position in Congress, and Republican House leadership eventually rolls over and accepts their original proposal, possibly with some small concessions.
Republicans, however, have turned the tables on the Democrats and have used the Democrats’ previously successful strategy against them brilliantly. Republicans now find themselves in the morally superior position, and with the American people on their side. If they stand firm now, Democrats will delay the individual mandate in Obamacare, amounting to a major victory for all Americans.
Obama and Senate Democrats have always preferred government-by-crisis; they knew if they pushed Republicans to the brink of a shutdown, Republicans would blink and give them what they demanded. This has been the Democrats’ strategy in every debate about funding the government since Obama was inaugurated. Until now, that strategy has worked every time. This time, to the Democrats’ surprise, Republicans are standing up and fighting for the American people.
The House of Representatives, currently controlled by Republicans, has taken the lead in this standoff. First, they passed a bill funding the entire federal government — except for Obamacare. After Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected this bill, House Republicans compromised and passed a bill delaying Obamacare for one year. Reid refused to vote on this bill and refused to negotiate or compromise with Republicans.
House Republicans responded by compromising for the third time, passing a bill that funds the entire federal government and delays only the individual mandate in Obamacare, and the special exemption from the law that Obama lawlessly carved out for Congress.
The individual mandate in Obamacare is the requirement that every individual must buy a health insurance policy the government deems acceptable or face a fine. Obama, by decree, has given Big Business a one year delay from the employer mandate and has completely exempted Congress, their staffs, and all federal workers from all of the costly burdens of Obamacare.
All House Republicans are demanding is that the American people be given the same benefits that Obama has given the rich and powerful. Senate Democrats rejected this compromise and reiterated that they completely refused to negotiate: Either Republicans will pass the bill the Democrats want, or Reid and Obama will shut the government down.
Prior to this debate, Republicans have always compromised on the Democrats’ terms. For example, Democrats had Republicans “compromising” about how much to raise taxes in the “fiscal cliff” deal. In this debate, Republicans have taken the position of the reasonable ones who only wish to “compromise.” This time, however, it will be on the Republicans’ terms.
Believing it would be politically beneficial to them, Reid and Obama made the decision to shut down the government, without one attempt to negotiate.
Obama soon after gave a speech in which he listed many things that would be closed or only partially funded due to the shutdown. Some of the items he included: Veterans’ Affairs, the National Institute of Health, parks and monuments, and the border patrol. In the past, these sort of public threats have always shaken Republicans to the point where they soon after gave in to the Democrats absolutist demands.
House Republicans responded by passing small spending bills covering each of the critical items that Obama mentioned in his speech that would not be fully funded. Reid has refused to allow a vote on those bills. He apparently prefers to play partisan politics rather than pass these bills which could greatly benefit the American people.
Republicans can now make the legitimate argument that they have tried to compromise three times; that they have voted to fund critical services like the VA and the NIH, and if they are not fully operational, that is the Senate Democrats’ and Obama’s choice; and that all they want is for the American people to be treated the same as Congress and Big Business. This is a winning position and a winning argument.
Democrats don’t know how to respond to being outplayed, so many of them have lashed out and personally attacked the Republicans. The Democrats continue to do things designed to anger and hurt the American people in the hopes that Republicans will be blamed.
Democrats have erected barriers around memorials in Washington and would not grant World War II veterans the right to visit the WWII memorial. Democrats thought they could blame this on Republicans. Instead, some House Republicans personally helped the veterans breach the barricades and visit their memorial.
Reid has said in the past that not funding the NIH meant that there would be no new clinical trials that might lead to cures for cancer. Republicans passed a spending bill that would fund the NIH, and Reid would not bring it to the floor for a vote.
According to The Washington Times, on Wednesday afternoon at a Democratic press conference, Reid was asked by CNN correspondent Dana Bash about his refusal to pass the NIH funding measure. She asked Reid, “If you can help one child with cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?” Astonishingly, he responded, “Why would we want to do that? I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own.”
Numerous press accounts have documented the extreme and radical language Democrats have used to describe Republicans, including “waging jihad,” people who “have bombs strapped to their chest,” Republicans “holding a gun to their head,” and the traditional hostage taking rhetoric that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi seems to trot out every time she has a disagreement with Republicans.
The rhetoric will be ratcheted up even further as the fear and knowledge that Democrats will not get exactly what they want continues to sink in. This is the height of liberal arrogance on display, and even the mainstream media will not be able to insulate them from their behavior this time.
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