Aug 05 2013

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A Government Shutdown Over Obamacare?

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Noble goal, foolish means...

Noble goal, foolish means…

I oppose Obamacare.  I have from the very beginning. And I have been writing about it consistently since 2009.

I don’t like the structure, the taxes or mandates. I don’t like  the truly sweeping grants of power/authority to un-elected bureaucrats to regulate 1/6th of the US economy, as well as the most personal aspects of American lives.  I didn’t like the blatantly phony budget numbers and the double counting that enterprising Democrats used to squeeze the bill into an acceptable 10-year budget window. I didn’t like the “cash for cloture” – the appalling kickbacks from Harry Reid to wavering Democratic Senators, that assured passage. I didn’t like the process used to approve the bill, a straight partisan vote, over the opposition of a majority of the American people, made possible only through extraordinary “reconciliation” procedures.

On the day of Obamacare’s passage, I called the “individual mandate” unconstitutional, which was considered absurd at the time, before SCOTUS entered with a reality check and ultimately took the case. After SCOTUS improbably saved the law, I set aside my reservations about Mitt Romney because he promised that if elected, he would repeal the law. In between and since, I have documented a rollout that confirmed the fears, written over the years, about the truly adverse impact of the law on individuals, the healthcare/medical industry and the economy. I invite you to go look. Search term, “Obamacare.”

I lay out this long  and detailed record because my bone fides, and those of so many other thoughtful and principled citizens and legislators, have been called into question by Tea Party conservatives in Congress. These officials have created an artificial litmus test for Obamacare opposition to justify a reckless and self-destructive legislative path they wish to take this fall.  Opposition, without a winning strategy to support it, is worse than foolhardy. Rank and file Republicans must take a stand against a mindless and short-sighted approach that will damage the party long into the future without achieving any goals.

As has become standard during the Obama years, Congress has failed to pass any of the 12 appropriations bills to fund the government for the next fiscal year.  So far, the Republican-controlled House has passed four bills.  The Democrat-controlled Senate hasn’t passed any. Reconciled versions of all 12 bills, approved by both the House and Senate, are required to send the bills to the President for signature. With the House and Senate out of Washington until September 9th, and then only in session for about nine days before the end of the fiscal year on September 30th, it is unlikely that any of the appropriations heavy lifting will get done before the government runs out spending authority. That, in turn, will require Congress to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR), an interim funding mechanism that authorizes spending for the government at current levels until new, longer-term funding vehicle can be approved.

Enter the Tea Party conservatives in Congress.

As Obamacare comes to life on October 1st (with the official deadline for the establishment of state insurance exchanges), and with Americans required to buy insurance effective January 1, 2014, Tea Party conservatives see the coming budget fight at the end of September as the last, best chance of killing Obamacare, the law. The plan, such as it is, would have Congress pass a CR that funds all government requirements, except Obamacare, essentially crippling the law at its most critical juncture. Under this scenario, President Obama, faced with a government shutdown, would reluctantly sign the CR to keep the government open, and fight the Obamacare battle in 2015. It would be a stunning victory for Obamacare opponents.

Sounds so easy doesn’t it?  If people of conscience and principle would just stand up and show some courage and spine, Obamacare will be on life support before Columbus Day.  That the plan ignores elementary political reality has not deterred the ardor with which leading Tea Party conservatives approach the matter. Indeed, if you point out the realities, even as an Obamcare critic, your heresy simply labels you  as part of the larger problem in DC – “the Establishment.” If sanity and common sense are the apparent virtues of the Establishment, then consider me convicted as charged.

Consider the pithy comment of Senator Mike Lee of Utah that summarizes Tea Party thinking. “Defund it, or own it. If you fund it, you’re for it.”

Preposterous and terribly misguided. What’s worse, not only will this plan fail to stop Obamacare, it will likely have profoundly negative implications next year on a mid-term battlefield that, at least right now, is looking good for the GOP.

Here are two reality checks for Senator Lee and his supporters as they mull their final path leading into September.

You cannot work your will controlling a single house in Congress: No doubt an Obamacare defunding CR would pass the House, mostly likely on a partisan vote. But where do you go from there?

Harry Reid brought shame on his office in the manner that he strong-armed Obamacare through the Senate. Democrats took enormous losses in 2010 because of Obamacare, yet, the law survives.  Does any reasonable person believe that Reid is going to allow a CR defunding that accomplishment to see the light of day in the Senate?

But for the sake or argument, let suppose that such a CR did pass the Senate. Does anyone think that the President would actually defund his defining accomplishment? Would FDR sign on to repeal Social Security? Would Johnson have repealed Medicare? Would Reagan agreed to a top tax rate of 70%? There is absolutely zero chance that Barack Obama will ever agree to do so, taking his chances fighting it out in the public arena where POTUS and his aides already know they have a built-in advantage.

A government shutdown never works to the GOP’s advantage: the success of the Tea Party approach here is predicated on what can charitably be called a suspension of disbelief – that in a public relations battle over who would be responsible for a government shutdown, that the American people would blame President Obama and the Democrats for refusing to defund Obamacare, rather than the GOP for holding up funding for a policy objective.

We’ve been down this road before. Everyone talks about the horrific impact of the ’95 shutdown initiated by Newt Gingrich. But the 2011 fight over the debt limit is also relevant here. Republicans took the government to the very brink, impacting the US credit rating, triggering a measurable drop in consumer confidence and causing a retraction in economic growth. President Obama saw a temporary hit to his approval numbers, but he rebounded and ultimately won re-election. For the eventual budget agreement that has since given us Sequestration, the GOP took a very big hit as the party of wealthy plutocrats that cares little if at all for the average working stiff.  That image persists to this day.

Perhaps the approach would have more merit if the Tea Party goal was to defund something that was causing actual harm to Americans.  We have all heard the secondary impacts of Obamacare before its rollout – the spike in part-time workers, the unaffordable minimum policies, the intrusive regulations. But the reality is that Americans have yet to feel the brunt of Obamacare. The Tea Party conservatives are asking Americans to accept real pain – delayed Social Security checks, closed national parks, etc – to trigger a change in policy for a program they have not yet experienced. No matter how many Americans oppose Obamacare – and they are in the majority, consistently since 2009 – Americans will not accept this particular linkage, because the result is not measurable in their day-to-day lives.

It is worth remembering that Obamacare effectively birthed the Tea Party movement, and it was four Augusts ago that Tea Party activism at Town Hall meetings served as an organizing focal point for voter disenchantment with government-run amok. But all the grass-roots activism in 2009 and 2010 could not stop passage of the bill. It could not elect a Republican president who would dismantle the law. But now, somehow, when public activism has turned to apathy, Tea Party conservatives are sure of massive public support for their position will carry the day?  That is a dangerous presumption.

And lets not forget that President Obama and his allies will not be standing still as all this unfolds. The President who has consistently run circles around the GOP and dominated the economic narrative for the country – despite his appalling record of accomplishment – represents a cautionary tale on calling out a Chief Executive on his strongest rhetorical ground. Indeed, one can fairly see President Obama chomping on the bit to rally the nation to his side, against the plutocrat Republican special interests that are holding up granny’s Medicare and Social Security so that they can take away your son’s healthcare.” What better way to distract from the cascading scandals and bad economic news than a GOP blunder that places the party back at the center of the news.  It would be an Axelrod dream.

Consider the likely context of this coming debate. The GOP is not starting this exercise with public confidence. Only 19 percent of voters approve of the GOP (versus 31 percent who approve of the Democrats). And as far as issues, 56 percent of Americans are concerned about the economy and the deficit. Healthcare comes in at 15 percent. A GOP action that triggers a government shutdown, impacting the economy, is a loser plain and simple.

And which side do we think the media will support? What’s a better story, a grateful citizen who will not have to pay a healthcare premium next year?  Or the destitute senior who goes without food because her Social Security check hasn’t come?  Rush Limbaugh has postulated that the rise of conservative media that did not exist during the 1995 shutdown would provide a formidable defense for Lee Cruz et.al., but that is not persuasive given the results from Election 2012. If anything, the new portals of news and social media provide more channels for POTUS and his media acolytes to dominate news cycles that simply pummel the GOP.

For the White House, it would be shooting fish in a barrel.

The harsh truth is that there is only one way this ends; with a humiliating defeat for the GOP. How big a defeat depends on how long it takes for Republicans to find an agreement that can command a majority in the House. The longer it takes, the worse it is.

But that is only the beginning of the bad news.

The shutdown will ultimately have been for nothing, but the public narrative will have been changed decisively. Instead of going into 2014 talking about the Obama scandals, the Obama economy and the abject failure of Obamacare the program, the narrative will be about how radical, dangerous and irresponsible the GOP is. How it cannot be trusted with authority. How the GOP will impoverish the middle class, hurt seniors and the poor to prevent a program designed to provide health coverage for the uninsured, all to serve the interests of the rich and the well-connected.  The TV ads fairly write themselves.

In a way, this is not that different from 2012 where the campaign was not so much about the quality of leadership that President Obama provided, as  it was simply that no matter what POTUS’ record was, Obama was a better risk for average Americans than the other guy.  And that was enough to win the election. In 2014, it could be enough to stem GOP gains that seem promising today. Certainly to deny the Republicans control of the Senate, which is within their grasp, if not to lose control of the House outright.

To credibly beat Obamacare, in the current circumstances, requires Republicans to play the “long game.” The GOP must do two things. First, it has to win elections. It needs to control the Senate and the House, and it needs to run a winner in 2016. Second, and in parallel, the GOP needs to define what will replace Obamacare. Opposition, for opposition’s sake was fine as the bill was being debated, when the law was before SCOTUS, and then on ’12 campaign trail. Now, as a dysfunctional, but operational program, the GOP must provide voters with their principled opposition and a plan to improve the quality and access to healthcare. Only in that way can Republicans win the argument and support of the American people.

It has been said that no major entitlement program, once enacted, has ever been repealed, and that is true. But no major entitlement program ever passed on a purely partisan vote, to the consistent and durable opposition of a majority of the American people. No entitlement has ever been so intrusive and disruptive as Obamacare will be.  No entitlement has ever forced Americans to lose their preferred coverage, or their doctor, or to lose hours at work, or subsidize medications and procedures that conflict with their religious beliefs. And that is only the beginning.

Obamacare can be overturned. It should be overturned. But unless the GOP, writ large, plays smart, the actions by Tea Party conservatives will, ironically, likely contribute to the law’s longer-term permanence.

I don’t lack the courage for a good, principled fight, Senator Lee. But I don’t fight for the sake of fighting. I fight to win. There is a difference.  GOP success in the coming months, and then the coming years, depends on understanding that fact.

May your recess bring enlightenment.








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  1. Brett

    All though the realist in me agrees this is a no-where strategy, because Obama does’t give a damn if he is the cause of a government shut down.

    But don’t you think Republican have a duty to the country to be doing everything possible to repeal, defund or delay this horrible monstrosity. The House has put through numerous bills to repeal knowing damn well the Senate would not take them up, but they did it anyway.

    If they put through a CR without Obamacare funding, and the Senate does not take it up, the government shuts down. If the Senate does take it up and it passes it to the President, if he doesn’t sign it the government shuts down. This country has survived a government shut down before and it will survive again. What this country will not survive is Obamacare.

    Remember, there are no Democrats other than maybe Reid or Pelosi that are running for reelection on a campaign that says they support Obamacare…none. Between the public out cry, the numerous problems its already having, the already approved delays, and Republicans standing strong….Obama is not a fighter, he will blink!!!

    1. duffysoa

      Brett: thanks for writing. Apologies for the delay in responding. You make good points.

      I believe that anyone, Republican, Democrat or Indie, who wants to prevent the destruction of our health care system has an obligation to oppose Obamacare. But I am equally certain that you don’t win battles by launching the political equivalent of Pickett’s Charge to get there.

      I look at the politics and there’s just no way to reach the objective without fully discrediting the GOP, and potentially altering the favorable climate that Republicans have going into 2014.

      Harry Reid is never going to allow a defunding bill to get to the Senate floor. And he already knows he won’t take any heat for it, because the question will not be about the horrors that are coming down the road with Obamacare, but about radical GOP bullies, shutting down the government to keep the poor from getting affordable insurance for health care.

      And POTUS? Obama is never – never – going to sign a bill that includes defunding. Obamacare is shaping up to be Obama’s only legacy. Assad and Putin may walk all over him, but he’s not going to agree to the end of his only accomplishment, regardless of how flawed it is. The Administration with the chutzpah to claim that it is the stewart of a strong foreign policy and a strong economy – all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding – is going to have no problem turning this fight to their advantage. Facts don’t matter here. Only perception, and the Obama perception machine is as fine tuned as a car in the Indie 500. Not to mention the sychophants in the 4th Estate that are chomping on the bit to pour gallons of ink to support POTUS and his charges of Republican indifference to middle America. A goverment shut down over Obamacare may be the last best oppty for the left to gain the high ground going into 2014.

      For my money, the only play worth exploring here is a delay in the individual mandate.

      There are already policy grounds for doing so as POTUS has postponed the employer mandate. A delay works on practical grounds since the exchanges are a mess. And that informs a savvy, if Machiavellian, political decision by the White House that kicking the Obamacare can past November 2014 might be the best hope for avoiding the corrosive political impact of the Obamacare rollout. A delay would be perceived as a defeat for the President, but tactical only. If, as a result, the Dems hold the Senate, or – long shot – take back the House – the move would be seen as brilliant, neutralizing the biggest ball and chain on Democrats nationwide, and assuring implementation in the last two years of Obama’s term.

      There is only one way to repeal Obamacare – a Republican President and a Republican Congress. Voters didn’t’ trust Republicans sufficiently in 2012 to make the change, despite public opposition to Obamacare, which has been constant. This battle will be won or lost in 2014 and 2016, not in a fight over government funding or the debt limit.

      My two cents.

  2. greatnesslostislegend

    Obama will win this one, not on facts, but media pressure on GOP members. It is that cut and dried.

    This is part of a large GOP problem. It has no singular spokesperson who counters Obama administration 24/7 365 campaigning. Or in the past consistent DNC member use of talking points. Reason why Obama does this is clear. To lead change you must ring the bell of it constantly to overwhelm your opposition. It matters less if facts are with your arguments, or image of a better world you invoke. It is getting it into majority of voter minds that is the goal. Once you push tide of public opinion the rest is easier.

    Second part of Obama strategy is to create scenarios, nearly always combined with straw man argument.

    With Obama care its easy: Invoke image of evil drug and insurance companies – you don’t want to go back to a system where they denied you care, or made drugs so expensive it is a matter of your life or cat food? This is repeated somewhere in this country at least a 100X daily by either Obama or his insync baying hounds in the Democrat machine or media. Fact that Medicare denies care twice as often per capita is somehow lost in the mix.

    Debt ceiling: You don’t want to shut down government do you? Your house will burn down – America will go bankrupt. Obama: Cuts of this size has never been tried before, the economy will go into depression! Followed by that little cheshire cat smile of his.

    Republicans including “Duffy” have swallowed this whole. No push back what so ever.

    Chicken crap. Heavens to Merkatroid its just a myth!

    Here is one, based on what my economics degree (Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada) tells me what the real response would be if the ceiling was invoked.

    Debt ceiling is invoked on Oct 15th 2013. A new “Contract with America” is announced. Bone Head (Bohener is replaced by a speaker who is conservative, but not abrasively so who can articulate where the GOP will take the country) From this point forward no other GOP member of the House and Senate can speak about GOP plans for this country in public outside the official line. It is a singular voice who makes daily announcements, and responses to the campaigner in Chief. GOP members who try and get around this new state of affairs are immediately subjected to a Primary fight.

    -Initial market panic ensues first thing next trading day, DOW down 350 points. However:

    -Market ends day only down a hundred points as reasoned people notice what hit the bond market. After the Fed states it will intervene with more Q.E. the ten year T Note Yield drops ending the week 0.45 basis points down as traders notice GOP House members have firmed up resolve to keep it in place – creating the only OECD nation with a balanced budget overnight.

    -Congress passes a law, attached to a major piece of legislation Obama wants, to allow the Social Security Administration to sell its Treasury Notes on the open market to fund its operations. (At this point the agenda is now up to Obama. For the next month the GOP drags its feet, but its new leader steps into the media shark feast each time the President does to counter his nonsense.

    -Bond Yield ends the second week down 1.21 percent (from 2.94 yield now to 1.75%) 15 to 30 year mortgage rates begin to plummet. The Fed notices and winds back its Quantitative Easing program, stopping it completely a few weeks later.

    -Social Security begins to sell its notes. This removes its expenditures from the Federal Budget. Due to surge of price and dropping Yield Social Security sees a win fall from selling notes. This surplus goes into the fund, or to boost some short term programs SSA is responsible for.

    -Congress passes the Economic Boom act of 2013. Cutting government spending to balance revenue expected. Obama vetoes bill if Reid allows it to a vote.

    -Treasury despite citing the Obama line America is going bankrupt pays its debt obligation for October on schedule. International traders see this. Treasury Note rate continues to drop, 10 year yield at the end of week three is 1.65%. Thirty year mortgage rate drops below 3.5% as Banks begin to notice yield spread and begin to compete for business. Ten year yield drops to about 1.25% by Christmas Day.

    -Dollar begins to climb out of initial drop compared to “basket of currencies” it rises 10% by the end to week 3, reaching parity with the Euro by Christmas day. Americans wanting to purchase/refinance a home mortgage are surprised to find 15 year money @ 1.5% and 30 year just below 2%. Home purchases begin to surge. International trend to decouple the US dollar from being the world’s reserve currency is stopped for the time being.

    -Actual inflation begins to fall, becoming negative with energy, Chinese products, commodities from outside the US. For example Gold drops below $800 an ounce, Silver $10, Oil to $60 a barrel, but LNG remains somewhat static. About half food items most purchase drop by 10% or more. These changes act as if the average US household just received a $3500 a year pay increase a $332 billion annual boost for the consumer.

    -Government spending constrained by debt ceiling falls to about $2.5 Trillion cash flow, while Social Security sells $200 billion annual of T notes to fund its shortfalls taking its drain on the budget away. Congress discovers due to negative inflation government core spending on social programs falls by $35 billion annual. Debt servicing cost drops by $65 billion. Pentagon budget can be cut by $38 billion on reduced energy, weapons procurement, and maintenance outlay, on top of the next phase of mandated cuts they are being forced to swallow. These factors and a few more removes about $388 billion/annual. It means to get to balance is significantly easier than first estimated.

    -The GOP offers Tax Reform to close the gap permanently. It is attached to program reform, and a new Federal Bureau of Revenue to replace the IRS. A parallel to the Clinton era “contract with America” ensues. (Call this Stephen Harper’s post crash plan but on a nation where it will be far more effective). Top income tax rate is flattened to 25%, but many deductions removed. Capital Gains and Dividend tax rates are cut in half, a small national sales tax is invoked. Revenue stream is set at a maximum of 18% of GDP. (down from 24% now). Net revenue rises to 2.92 Trillion. Like in Canada an overall cut of 10 points is invoked on Federal spending, several programs are rolled into others, a back door universal voucher/ health account, based healthcare system is put in. (aka Chile) knocking out Obama Care mandated spending.

    -US budget is balanced in a deal voted and passed by Congress when they return in January. (A temp spending authorization allowing government to continue over the period). The Senate passes it convinced the impact will destroy the GOP for generations. Obama in his ideological box (like he showed with Syria) signs it. Ten Year T. Note yield hits its lowest point of the real recovery somewhat below 1%.

    -US unemployment which spiked due to 2.5 million jobs lost from government cut backs (and related private sector positions related) begins to fall from 10.4% in January 2014 to 9% by July, and 7.5% in time for the midterms. The GOP spokesperson spends the entire period countering Obama’s shrill and empty response. The GOP tells Americans this is just the start. With half a million, or more jobs being created a month, Obama cannot counter this argument. The GOP House leader states if you give us the Senate we will double job creation with the next stage of our new Contract. (Program consolidation). Republicans win the House and Senate.

    -By 2016 US unemployment is under 5%. Incomes are up. Inflation is still very low. US GDP is $2 Trillion higher than now. Democrats do not get credit for this. People have learned this recovery was despite Obama not due to him. Dr. Carlson wins the 2016 election over Michelle Obama, or Hillary Clinton. (Booker is in reserve for 2020).

    Right now global economic development is accelerating, all be it a bit slower due to EU, US, and Japanese problems. China could have a short recession any time now. However the new technologies that will create the next “must have” products are trying to find a home. With Obama the US will be lucky to draw in 10 to 15% of this investment. With right of center policies as above this number will more than double). For the US this is the difference between having 15 to 17% of Global GDP by 2050, or 10%. This is the difference between the US dollar remaining a dominant global currency or similar to the Pound. It is the difference between a per capita US medium household income of $49,000 annual to $42,000 in constant dollars by mid century. If sensible policies are forced down Obama’s throat as Obamacare was on America medium US household income in constant dollars will be north of $60,000 by mid century.

    Like everything Obama, its smoke and mirrors. He advocates a system that has failed everywhere it has been tried. Prior to 1776 it was a form of Fascism centered on a King who only allowed his chosen ones to prosper. After Marx, pushed by elites in Europe to find a way to counter the American Revolution of industry that followed constitutional rule of law, created Marxism. It too centered on a government that chooses who prospers. Obama will say anything to defend his assumptions built up over a lifetime of coddled existence. Mike Duffy: You swallowed the latest load concerning the debt ceiling. I hope this begins to change your mind. People actually will respond to a reasoned argument put simply, but honestly. Not empty Hope and Change, but real.

    1. duffysoa

      First, thank you for writing, and for putting substantial thought and effort into your reply. This is meaty and just the kind of post I like as it gets down to issues, proposals and solutions.

      I agree with you that Obama and the Democrats will win the upcoming battle, not on the facts of the issue, with favor the GOP, but on a narrative of GOP heartlessness for the poor and sick. Also that a strawman agrument is almost always the basis for an Obama offensive that paints the GOP as the foil out to inflict pain on the American people with diabolical plans to increase the wealth of the richest.

      And to the substance of your email – guilty as charged – I do think the way you capture Obama and the debt ceiling is exactly how he will play it (starting today in the Rose Garden).

      Where we differ – obviously – is whether me and other GOPers have bought into a narrative that is essentially bluff, or whether a factual assessment of the situation informs a path that parallels the Obama course. I believe the latter, not because the Democrats are making those arguments, but because I know where the power is and I can read the politics. I haven’t lost the will or ability to challenge the President and Democrats on their agenda. I am fairly spoiling for a fight, but only one that I know I can win. I simply refuse to fight a battle to make a point. I see know value in a “Charge of the Light Brigade” or “Pickett’s Charge” which were no doubt glorious to watch, but were epic dissters. You don’t win wars by fighting where you have no discernable advantage.

      1) GOP only controls one House of Congress. You cannot run the government from the House – period. You cannot run the government from the Hose when the presidency and Senate are controlled by the other party. You cannot advance an agenda that is antithetical to the other party when they control two key levers of power. It is simple suicide to take hostages to force you agenda on the others.

      2) Public opinion matters. GOP shut down the government in 1995 (when we had control of the Senate) and Clinton wrote the playbook on how to turn this to his advantage. The public remembers, and the the Democrats never stop reminding them. The 2011 showdown was a substantive, albiet distorted success (Sequester) but it was a public relations disaster that only added to the 1995 meme, bringing the US to the brink on the debt ceiling, triggering the debt downgrade, international market turbulence, a fall in consumer confidence et.al. But for gerrymandering, Republicans would have lost the House in 2012. Democrats House candidates nationwide won 1 million more votes than Republicans. The GOP majority was trimmed anyway.

      As for the rest of your comments, but were it be true.

      John Boehner’s exit will not change the very real political fault lines in the House. Eric Cantor, next in line for the Speakership will be more friendly to conservatives but no more effective in mobilizing national opinion. You simply don’t influence public opinion when your control 1/3rd of the levers of power. I wish we could get to the point of the kind of message discipline you posit, but its not realistic. They differences in the House Republican Caucus cannot be papered over with unified talking points and threats of primary challenges. Independent expenditures and the fact that 190 of 223 GOPers won their districts by more than 10 points is insulation from the Speaker’s wrath.

      As an economist, you raised some interesting points and policy proposals. But with every respect, I believe the volitility of formally exceeding the debt ceiling would be far worse than you outline. And while you are right that the US would be able to make essential debt payments to avert a formal technical “default”, we are still spending anywhere from $400-700B more than we take in. Something has to give – immediately. What will that be?

      The SSA proposal is interesting but I wonder why breaking this out of formal US debt obligations would be more attractive to investors and create a windfall. To say nothing of Democrat charges that the GOP wants to put “trust fund” at the mercy of the market. Not true, but that will be the narrative.

      The rest, well, the proposals deserve debate, but nothing you propose has the slightest chance while the GOP controls only one half of Congress. Tax relief that you propose would be incredibly welcome, but how do you get Obama to sign off on that when he and Reid are still looking for tax increases?

      I know the frustration of so many people with todays course and all the missed opportunities to fix the country. The harsh truth is that given a fairly epic opportunity to vote President Obama out of office in 2012, the GOP and and the Obama opposition failed miserably to find a first tier candidate, to fund a first rate operation or to mobilize opposition. That was the time and place for the message unity you mentioned. While we were right on the issues, we were beaten. Our current situation is the result. We have to live with what we failed to accomplish.

      The only way to roll back the president’s agenda is to win the Senate, and to win the White House. That’s frustrating because it will take 3 more years to get there – if the GOP actually manages to get its act together to win. What I know with certainty is that if the GOP House conservatives are intent on forcing a fight on now, with a weak hand, where Obama controls the high ground. we may not only lose on today’s issues – we may damage our long term prospects for gaining the national trust.

      Thank you again for writing and I welcome you to share your views here as you you deem fit based on the posts.



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