It seems like Republicans are so desperate to find an ally in the American people that the rhetoric is quickly becoming inconsistent. At the moment, there are three factions of Republicans: the “innocent victims,” the giddy flip-floppers, and those who have no clue what the fight is about to begin with. Some fit in more than one of these categories:
- In the first category are those who have claimed that they played no part in shutting down the government and find it absolutely ridiculous that national parks and museums have been considered “nonessential,” but hardly question the furloughs of over 800,000 federals who are largely responsible with enforcing regulations and providing social services. These are the same people who act like they had no clue what a shutdown would entail.
- The second category, the giddy flip-floppers, include the likes of Michelle Bachmann, who claimed that Republicans are “happier than I’ve seen [them] in a long time” but took photos with World War II veterans to seem sympathetic. This group also complains that the Democrats and President Obama have destroyed the country but, in the same breath, say “at least the EPA can’t issue new regulations” or play off the shutdown like it is no big deal. Most Republicans fit into this category simply because they try so hard to stick their “principles” of free markets and nationalism that they contradict themselves.
- And then we have those who have no idea what is going on. Case in point: Indiana Congressman Marlin Stutzman, who said this week, “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” This is the most dangerous group of Republicans, simply because they were willing to shut down the government and perhaps even default on the nation’s debt without having any idea why they did it in the first place.
And the confusion and idiocy within the party is not helping. In a poll by Public Policy Polling (left-leaning, but accurate nevertheless), commissioned by MoveOn.org, it suggests that if the 2014 elections were held today, there would be a Democratic majority in the House. But do not expect the House to vote on a clean CR. Speaker John Boehner has refused to put it to a vote, claiming there are not enough votes to approve it. The facts say otherwise, now that 22 House Republicans have said they would vote to reopen the government with no strings attached, effectively giving the Democrats the majority they need to continue to fund the government. Boehner knows this, but he, like the other children in his party, refuses to let something as stupid and insignificant as facts get in the way of the misleading rhetoric being spewed on the airwaves.
But remember what this is all about: defunding Obamacare. Conservatives have made it clear that this is their endgame. Compromise is not their goal, and Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders have made that perfectly clear. They would rather fund the parts of government they like through a piecemeal approach instead of doing the will of the people and fully fund the government and sort out the Obamacare debate like civilized adults.
America is now at the mercy of the GOP, and their strategy is to lie, say President Obama owns the shutdown and refuses to negotiate, and accuse the media of bias when they argue otherwise. Forget that Americans do not support the shutdown. Never mind that millions of people, especially the working poor, are being affected by the furloughs and the cuts to social services like WIC. The GOP may have their backs to the wall, but they will continue to swing. Why? Because of a law they fear the American people will like. There is no ideology here. It is dirty politics at its finest.