October 4, 2013
CONSTITUENCIES MATTER, NOT POLLS:
How the GOP painted itself into a corner on the shutdown (Jon Terbush, 10/04/13, The Week)
Polls have been uniformly rosy for Democrats, giving them ample reason not to budge. Even a Fox News poll released Thursday offered almost exclusively good news, showing rising approval ratings for Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and falling favorables for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).Meanwhile, the approval rating for the Republican Party as a whole hit its lowest point in the poll's history. As with several other surveys, the poll also found Americans more likely to pin blame for the shutdown on Republicans.Some Republicans have openly acknowledged that the party cannot win and must move on, particularly as Congress heads toward a default on the national debt that would certainly be far more economically harmful than the shutdown. Yet a committed bloc of hardcore conservatives remains unwilling to throw in the towel just yet -- even though they, too, see no winning endgame.Though hard-line Republicans "see no plausible way out of the current impasse," The Washington Examiner's Byron York reports, they were nonetheless committed to pressing on "because they've come so far they cannot imagine backing down now."In short, they know they've lost, but aren't willing to walk away embarrassed and empty-handed."I think there's a sense that for us to do a clean [continuing resolution] now -- then what the hell was this about?" one House member told York.
The pressure on the parties is more balanced than this suggests because Democratic constituencies want the government to spend money. That means the GOP can hold out for a compromise.
The question is whether this congressional party is capable of accepting a compromise.
If they could accept that they can't repeal health care then they could accept reforming health care. One easy deal would be to provide genuinely universal coverage, but to do it through a Wyden-Ryan approach and greater use of HSAs.
Meanwhile, just take another 10% off the top of the CR and declare victory.Posted by Orrin Judd at October 4, 2013 1:45 PM
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