Political Animal


March 01, 2013 3:59 PM Don’t Forget the Great White Whale!

By Ed Kilgore

Under the most common scenario for what happens next on the fiscal front in Congress, Republicans can keep conservatives happy by providing a new continuing resolution (before the temporary one runs out on March 27) that incorporates the spending levels set by the sequester (with or without a selective plus-up for the Pentagon), then finesse the debt limit when it runs out, and then it’s off to the midterm elections! This plan depends on not doing anything likely to provoke a failure of the appropriations process—via an irresolvable fight with the Senate or a presidential veto—and then a government shutdown. The President improved odds of a relatively smooth process today by hinting pretty broadly that he’d go along with sequester levels of funding if the only alternative is a shutdown.

But now, just when it looked like John Boehner had satisfied restive Tea Party types with his no-negotiations posture on the sequester, a new (or rather, an old but renewed) demand is arising from the Right: kill all funds used to implement Obamacare! Here’s Erick Erickson, who may be trying to keep his wingnut street cred intact after suggesting the other day that conservatives needed to pay more attention to actual facts happening in the real world:

Next week, the House will be voting on the CR to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. This is our last best chance to defund this thing and ensure it never takes root. There’s nothing more important to force a fight over than Obamacare. The fight over the sequester is already over. Take yes for an answer and move on.
Unlike some of the frauds in Congress these days and some real conservatives who have lost their testicular fortitude to fight, Reps. Jim Bridenstine (OK) and Tim Huelskamp (KS) actually take their campaign pledges seriously. They actually understand we are in a pitched battle for the future of the country, and they know the stakes of losing that battle. They have circulated a letter calling on Boehner to block all funding for Obamacare in the CR.

It’s interesting that Erickson frames this battle-cry not as something he’s asking congressional Republicans to do, but as a shout of rage at a betrayal he considers already underway:

In fact, House conservatives, not just the general rank and file Republicans, appear set to endorse Obamacare and approve its funding. Yes, even former Republican Study Committee (“RSC”) Chairmen Jeb Hensarling, Tom Price, and Jim Jordan along with present RSC Chairman Steve Scalise will do so….
Republicans promised to defund Obamacare. They lied. Now we are at the end of the rope. If we don’t engage in a fight to the death over funding for Obamacare, it will forever be enshrined in the welfare state; it will forever relegate us to lethargic growth; it will forever make private healthcare unaffordable.
No - this is not one of those issues we shrug off and surrender due to an election. This is a fight we cannot lose because a majority of Americans still oppose Obamacare. This is a fight we must not lose or we’ll be talking in 20 years from now how to muster the courage to implement minuscule reforms to this behemoth, the same way we are talking now about Medicare.

Ol’ Erick doesn’t spell out the implication that if past conservatives had never let Medicare breathe its first breath, they wouldn’t have to lie and pretend they adore that satanic program now. But never mind.

Erickson’s not alone in getting the troops all riled up for a gotterdamerung on this issue: Heritage Action is on board, and of course, out there in front is Steve King.

The defund-Obamacare demand, if accepted by congressional GOPers would, of course, make a government shutdown a certainty, no matter how sweet a deal the White House or congressional Democrats are willing to otherwise offer to get to the end of the year. It will be interesting to see whether this campaign to call conservatives traitors and RINOs if they don’t go in this direction gets traction, or people like Erickson suddenly find something else to shriek about.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on March 01, 2013 4:14 PM:

    Conservatives and/or Republicans, are deathly afraid that Obamacare will be (anywhere near) as successful as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and are determined on kill that fetus before it becomes worthy of drowning that baby in a bathtub.

    Never have so many, been so wrong, in defense of so few (of the rich), at the expense of so many (of the rest of the people).

    Erick, son of the sons of many sons of other sons, named Erick, who vainly named their sons after themselves, is a typical sociopathic Conservative douchebag - just one with a bigger megaphone.

    I normally don't with this on anyone, but I hope that pathetic goat-fecking POS meets a health crisis BEFORE Obamacare becomes fully implemented, just to see that sociopathic douchebag scream, whine, and beg, for mercy.

    I'm sorry...

  • Gandalf on March 01, 2013 4:19 PM:

    So these assholes are just going to throw any level of sanity out the door. If I don't get my way I'll take my ball and go home. Well since they're hell bent on screwing everyone except their wealthy contributors and one issue idiot supporters maybe it' time to let the chips fall where they may. somehow I don't thik the american people are going to look kindly on these chimps throwing their never ending tantrums. I also think that when they get what they're after even the big money people are going to bail on them.

  • Josef K on March 01, 2013 4:30 PM:

    Erickson: There’s nothing more important to force a fight over than Obamacare.

    I doubt Senor Erickson has ever been in a real fight in his life, or would be able to stand in one come to it. Heck, my four year-old would probably knock him over.

    Besides, what leverage has Erickson got? More primary threats?

  • Josef K on March 01, 2013 4:42 PM:

    This is a fight we must not lose or we’ll be talking in 20 years from now how to muster the courage to implement minuscule reforms to this behemoth, the same way we are talking now about Medicare.

    Hysterical much? And these idiots wonder why no-one takes them seriously.

    Takes their money and their time, yes, but takes them seriously? Ha.

  • Col. Snackbar on March 01, 2013 4:44 PM:

    If he really want's this to be a fight to the death, I'm sure that could be arranged.

  • Jim Treacher on March 01, 2013 8:12 PM:

    When Republicans don't go along with Obama, they're obstructionists. When they do go along with Obama, he blames them when it all goes wrong.

    I know you don't care.

  • Bryce Anderson on March 01, 2013 8:16 PM:

    When Erickson reminds us that "a majority of Americans are opposed to Obamacare," does he remember that about a quarter of the people who poll "opposed" are in favor of single-payer instead?

    Who wants to go back to an era of tens of millions of uninsured Americans? Not as many as Erickson seems to think.

  • E.Hatt-Swank on March 02, 2013 10:28 AM:

    I like that quote from Erickson - Obamacare "will make private health care unaffordable". So the reform is a travesty because health care was so cheap and easily accessible before? What planet have these fools been living on?

    I have been at times perplexed by the right's venom toward Obamacare, but it does make some kind of sense when viewed as Ed spells out above. They hate it so passionately because deep down they know that it will likely be successful and in the long term will become as untouchable as Medicare. And that drives them nuts!

  • monoceros4 on March 02, 2013 11:48 PM:

    "What planet have these fools been living on?"

    The same planet in which you can reduce your health-care costs simply by being a good capitalist consumer and shopping around for cheaper providers. It's the same planet on which the slightest government regulation of health insurers means we'll have to wait ten years for a government-chosen doctor to treat an ingrown toenail while faceless HHS bureaucrats decide who lives and who dies, whereas if those same health insurers were permitted to operate without any regulation they'll let you go to any doctor you want, cover everyone equally and bring swift and affordable assistance to every man, woman and child out of the goodness of their hearts.

    Have these idiots never actually dealt with a corporate insurance policy? Have they never been sick? How on Earth do they think the current system actually works?