Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Many Ways a Government Shutdown Hurts Republicans

I'm aware of the fact that Sen. Ted Cruz went to Harvard. Rumors continue to circulate that he's actually smart. If that's true, then it's hard to figure out why he'd continue to embrace dumb strategic moves like shutting down the federal government over funding for Planned Parenthood. Let's list all the ways that a move like that is destined to not only fail, but hurt Republicans.

The easiest place to start is with the facts that fellow Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte included in a letter to her colleague.
Ayotte, who is not a supporter of Planned Parenthood, voted last month to defund the group. That bill received 53 votes in the Senate, short of the 60 votes it needed to pass.

“How do we get 60 votes? And if for some reason there were 60 votes, how do we get 67 votes in the Senate to overcome a Presidential veto?” Ayotte asked in her letter.
There aren't enough votes in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood - much less override a presidential veto. We already know that. But Cruz and House Republicans have enough votes to stop their party from passing a budget over their objections - thus leading to a government shutdown on October 1st.

It's interesting to note what happens to Planned Parenthood during a government shutdown. Most of their federal funding continues.
A government shutdown wouldn’t shut down Planned Parenthood.

Instead, Planned Parenthood would continue to receive the majority of its federal funding — including all of its Medicaid payments — even if Congress cannot enact a new spending law on Oct. 1, according to a nonpartisan study by the Congressional Research Service.
Meanwhile, Congressional leaders will have to figure out a way to end the government shutdown. If the Cruz wing of their party won't negotiate, who do they turn to? The same group they've always had to work with when the lunatic caucus throws a hissy fit...Democrats. That gives the Democrats increased leverage in budget negotiations.

So, in the event of a government shutdown, Planned Parenthood continues to get their funding, Republicans - who have a majority in Congress - are forced to negotiate with Democrats on a budget and Republicans get blamed for the whole mess. How's it going for you so far, Senator Cruz?

But let's imagine an alternative world in which somehow these folks are successful in passing legislation that strips Planned Parenthood of all funding. What happens then?

Keep in mind that approximately 75% of the government funding Planned Parenthood receives is in the form of reimbursement for services from Medicaid. Court cases in Indiana and Arizona struck down state attempts to strip the organization of Medicaid funding because it violates the patient's right to choose their own provider.

You've got to wonder what it would ultimately look like for Republicans to go to the Supreme Court demanding that the government intervene in plaintiff's choice of a medical provider. Not a good look, huh?

As the chief proponent of this strategy, doesn't someone have to eventually question the intelligence of Senator (and presidential candidate) Ted Cruz?


  1. Meanwhile Ted Cruz gets all kinds of free publicity to help him run for President.

  2. As a strategy to actually cripple Planned Parenthood or help the Republican party, Cruz's shutdown scheme is ludicrous. As a strategy to reinforce his status as a champion fighter in the eyes of the rubes, it's brilliant.

    A shutdown will create a huge messy confrontation followed by (exactly as you describe) establishment Republicans going hat-in-hand to the Democrats to get the government going again and extricate the party from the polling doghouse. Cruz gets to stand in front of the dumb hicks and proclaim that he went to the mat to shut down Planned Parenthood, but the wimp squish traitor GOP establishment once again betrayed him and the party base. In the wider world he'll look like a fool, but in the bubble of epistemological closure he'll look like a hero -- and that's all he needs to keep getting re-elected, and lionized.


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