Another voice of reason joins the fray:
The Republican base must not require its representatives in Congress to run off a cliff and commit suicide as the price of avoiding a primary challenge in 2014. The Tea Party must not eat its young.
Polling shows that there are nowhere near the pre-conditions in place that would be necessary for a government shutdown over defunding ObamaCare. Americans oppose defunding it by 44% to 38%, according to a recent CNBC All-America Economic Survey -- and when it comes to shutting down the government to force its defunding, opposition swells to 19-59.
To force Republican congressmen to side with the 19s against the 59s is to endanger the gains the party made in 2010 and hasten the day of Democratic control of the House.
Predicted Tea Partier response: "Oh, come on, Dick Morris worked for Bill Clinton! You and he are just part of the "GOP progressive conspiracy!" Only they'll probably use more exclamation points.
Anybody who has read my blogs and listened to my podcasts knows my dubiousness regarding media polling. But bias cannot account for a forty-point polling deficit on public opposition to a government shutdown. Is it really that lopsided? Probably not; I've seen other polls that are a lot closer; but they all still show net public opposition to shutting down the government for any reason, including (nominal) defunding of ObamaCare, and that the Republicans would bear more of the blame for it.
And yes, I remember the 1995-96 shutdown showdowns between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. Newt won the first one, Sick Willie won the second one. He used that win to secure his own re-election, which is why it didn't also redound to the benefit of congressional Dems. And yes, Republicans only remember the second showdown and not the first. But remember two things: (1) in politics, perception is nine-tenths of reality, and guess who defines reality to the LIVs and NIVs?; and (2) in the 1995-96 shutdown showdowns, Republicans controlled the Senate as well as the House, so it was a direct confrontation between Congress and the White House; here it's between the House on one side and the White House and Senate on the other, so O won't even be directly involved. And with the media propaganda juggernaut in full crucifixtion mode, 'Pubbies can't count on congressional Dems not benefitting from shutdown fallout.
Morris echoes my argument thusly:
Republicans should pass enough of a debt-limit expansion to accommodate debt service payments for thirty days and then demand that any further expansion be subject to spending cuts. Eliminating the medical device tax, scaling back ObamaCare, capping means-tested entitlements like Medicaid and food stamps and even basic tax reform should be on the agenda. Having cut discretionary spending to very low levels, Republicans should turn to entitlements -- not Social Security or Medicare, but to welfare spending, and insist on caps.
If the Democrats stand firm and demand a clean debt-limit expansion, Republicans could then force a government shutdown by refusing to raise the debt limit (except to pay debt service already owed). While this will be the same battle as the one that ensued over the continuing resolution, it would be on very different and much more advantageous terrain. Voters would see the link between spending cuts and the debt limit and would heartily approve of the Republican position. President Obama, on the other hand, would find himself begging to be allowed more borrowing -- not a good message to have to sell. [emphasis added]
A much better hill to die on, indeed. And look who's coming to Ted Cruz's rescue:
Speaker John Boehner said Thursday the GOP-controlled House will not accept a temporary spending bill from the Democratic Senate if it is shorn clean of a tea party plan to "defund Obamacare."
"I don't see that happening," Boehner told reporters.
At the same time, the Ohio Republican said House GOP leaders would unveil legislation to lift the government's borrowing cap, but only if the new health care law is delayed for a year. He defended that measure's relatively modest spending cuts even as some rank-and-file conservatives pressed for more.
IOW, resistance, my friends, is not futile; but let's do so with our heads, not our hearts.
UPDATE: Is Tom Coburn a "RINO"? Or Rick Perry? Are we really supposed to believe that Ted Cruz and Mike Lee (oh, sorry, and Sarah Palin) are the only "True Conservatives" left, and that entitles them to be the sole arbiters of same?