As Politico reports, Republicans in Congress are in a state of full, chaotic retreat this Friday morning, as Democrats hold firm through the ongoing shutdown of the federal government and threats of debt default, and public support for the GOP's ill-advised campaign to force the defunding or delay of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. "Obamacare," collapses.
After Oct. 1, when the government shut down and registration for Obamacare’s health exchanges opened, Republicans began to have trouble defining what it was they were after.
“We’re not going to be disrespected,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told the Washington Examiner. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”
By early this week, with polling showing they were losing the fight, Republicans in Congress began looking for a way out of their political mess. While the House GOP wants to raise the debt limit for six weeks while continuing to negotiate over the budget, some Senate Republicans have seen enough of this movie and might vote for the one-year debt-limit hike Reid plans to bring to the floor on Saturday.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll released Thursday night — and no doubt reflecting what both White House and Republican pollsters already knew — showed the public approval rating for Republicans at 24 percent, an all-time low in the history of the survey. Seventy percent of respondents said the congressional GOP was putting politics before the good of the country, and, worst for the GOP, the numbers for Obamacare have actually risen during the shutdown.
Local Republicans typify the intra-GOP chaos that has ensued in Washington. Rep. Cory's Gardner's efforts at a "Grand Bargain" appear to have been overtaken by the more general capitulation underway. Rep. Mike Coffman received praise for paying lip service this week to supporting a "clean" continuing resolution to fund the government, then proceeded to reverse himself again just a day later, saying he wants a resolution to deal with both the shutdown and the debt limit–nothing "clean" about that. Rep. Doug Lamborn, one of our state's most obstinate safe-seat conservatives, was actually one of the first to give up as the damage from the shutdown in his government-heavy district mounted. As for Rep. Scott Tipton, he's still going on about wanting to delay Obamacare. We suspect he'll vote how he's told in the end, of course.
As the engineered dual crises over the ongoing shutdown of the federal government and the potential default by the government on its debt obligations enter what appears to be their terminal phase, we're left wondering just how much this situation will impact the upcoming 2014 election cycle–both nationally and here in Colorado. This latest polling referred to above, if accurate, shows a devastating loss of support for the Republican Party as a direct consequence of their actions in the last few weeks. Will it be enough to break the momentum Colorado Republicans insist they have in our state following the summer's historic recall elections?
As Republicans kept up their withering rhetorical assault on President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law, according to this latest poll, support for the new law actually grew. The fact is, the rollout of major public-facing components of the law has had more than its share of problems, but the GOP hobbled their ability to capitalize on these temporary problems by focusing the nation's attention on the harm they were willfully doing. After all the years spent building up to this moment, the failure of Republicans to control the message as the insurance exchanges sputtered to life could well be the cardinal error in this comedy of political errors.
Back in July of 2009, then-Sen. Jim DeMint predicted that health care reform would be Obama's "Waterloo." Today, it kind of seems that way–except that Republicans collectively, and not Obama, are playing Napoleon.