Thank Goodness that Charles Krauthammer Can Strategize, Because Many Republicans Can’t.

There is talk amongst Republicans about forcing a government shutdown in order to defund Obamacare. Krauthammer shows why the idea should be a complete non-starter:

This is nuts. The president will never sign a bill defunding the singular achievement of his presidency. Especially when he has control of the Senate. Especially when, though a narrow 51 percent majority of Americans disapproves of Obamacare, only 36 percent favors repeal. President Obama so knows he’ll win any shutdown showdown that he’s practically goading the Republicans into trying.

Never make a threat on which you are not prepared to deliver. Every fiscal showdown has redounded against the Republicans. The first, in 1995, effectively marked the end of the Gingrich revolution. The latest, last December, led to a last-minute Republican cave that humiliated the GOP and did nothing to stop the tax hike it so strongly opposed.

Those who fancy themselves tea party patriots fighting a sold-out cocktail-swilling establishment are demanding yet another cliff dive as a show of principle and manliness.

But there’s no principle at stake here. This is about tactics. If I thought this would work, I would support it. But I don’t fancy suicide. It has a tendency to be fatal.

As for manliness, the real question here is sanity. Nothing could better revive the fortunes of a failing, flailing, fading Democratic administration than a government shutdown where the president is portrayed as standing up to the GOP on honoring our debts and paying our soldiers in the field.

How many times must we learn the lesson? You can’t govern from one house of Congress. You need to win back the Senate and then the presidency. Shutting down the government is the worst possible way to get there. Indeed, it’s Obama’s fondest hope for a Democratic recovery.

I would only add that the GOP is not bothering to sell the American public on alternatives to Obamacare–and yes, excellent alternatives can be adopted and should be pointed to in order to show that Republicans have a plan on health care reform. Ramesh Ponnuru and Yuval Levin took the time to craft such a plan. (Ponnuru, it should be noted, is on Krauthammer’s–and my–side in saying that any effort to force a government shutdown in order to defund Obamacare is a terrible idea that will backfire on Republicans.) If Republicans want to replace Obamacare, it would be helpful if they could point to an actual plan that would serve as an acceptable substitute. Until they do so, their efforts against Obamacare will be quixotic at best.

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