Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur reminds us
that the same nihilist Republican cranks and opportunists who shut down the federal government in 2013 over Obamacare are now using the same discredited script to try to block funding for Planned Parenthood:
Republicans who want to shut the down the federal government rather
than provide $500 million in funding to Planned Parenthood insist that
their party won't be punished for having the courage of its
They say the millions of Americans
inconvenienced by the closing of national parks and delays of services
(not to mentioned missed paychecks for federal workers) won't blame
Republicans for refusing to pass a federal funding bill that contains
money for the women's health care services provider. Instead, the theory
goes, voters will blame the Democratic president, who plans to veto the
bill if it doesn't include money for Planned Parenthood.
And, once again, how did that genius theory work for them in 2013?
In the end, Republican lost the fight. Not just because they had to cave
and pass a bill that continued funding for Obamacare, but because they
took the political hit for it: 81 percent of Americans disapproved of
the shutdown, and the public blamed Republicans by a 53 percent to 39
percent margin, according to a Washington Post/ABC poll taken at the time. Nine days into the shutdown, Gallup found that the GOP's approval rating had sunk to an all-time low. Democrats' approval dipped more modestly.
The cast of
characters remains the same: the grandstanding uber-cynic Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz
, "establishment" flavor of the week Sen. Marco "Glug Glug" Rubio
, Sen. "Ayn" Rand Paul
(hovering around 4 percent
in the polls), and unteachable House crazies like Rep. Jim "Air Head" Jordan
(R-OH). Of course, Cruz, Rubio and Paul are simply in this doomed fight to score points with the base voters who are itching for another confrontation with Obummer and the Demoncrats, to hell with gummint! This is pure posturing and, to an extent, whistling past the graveyard, since all were around to see how this blame-the-President strategy has blown up on them with the general public over and over again. But now, they're in a "Lord of the Flies" primary, and the votes up for grabs are those cast by the most low-information, angry yahoos -- and they want their share of those votes. But, unlike 2013, which led up to an off-year election, shenanigans pulled this year are leading up to a presidential election, with greater attention and turnout implications.
If they follow the script and succeed in shutting down government over Planned Parenthood funding (something a whopping 71 percent
of the American people don't want), the reviews are going to be harsh... again.