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Cutting the BS – An Analysis of GOP Talking Points on the Shutdown

Speaker Boehner Speaks to the Press about the Shutdown

Speaker Boehner Addresses the Press about the Shutdown

Now that the Federal Government has shut down, the political posturing has begun. It looks like we are in for a shutdown lasting at least three or four days and possibly much longer. By day two, we have seen the political strategies of each party begin to unfold. For the moment the Democrats seem to be standing strong, staying on message, and firmly holding The Political Highground.  However, we know all to well that Democrats are capable of losing their discipline and buckling at any moment. The Republicans on the other hand, are trying to change the optics and position themselves as the reasonable party begging for negotiation.

The opening salvo from each party in this crisis seems to be:  Point the finger at the other side and blame them for this unpopular shutdown and then hunker down and see which way the wind blows.

There is no question that the Republican Party excels in one area- the ability to twist the argument by using well crafted talking points. This is why it is necessary to break down the talking points and point out their disingenuous political bluster.

Republican Talking Points

Rand Paul: “We haven’t had a big debate on Obamacare, really, since it passed in congress”

I’m not sure where Senator Paul has been since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. Since the bill has passed, a large portion of the political debates in the country have been about the ACA. We have seen the Supreme Court debate Obamacare and find it Constitutional. We have had a presidential election in which one of the main issues was Obamacare, and seen the man who the bill is named after win re-election. We have seen the House of Representatives waste the time and money of the taxpayers in over 40 futile attempts to repeal Obamacare – all the while knowing that there is no chance that they could succeed. We had the debate – and the Republicans lost.

 

Various GOP Officials: President Obama is willing to negotiate with The President of Iran and Vladimir Putin, but not the House of Representatives

This is an interesting argument. It is saying something when Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani are being less intransigent than the right wing of the Republican Party. But in reality, The Democrats have already compromised with the Republicans in the House. They have accepted spending at sequester levels (something they are extremely opposed to) in the Continuing Resolution. The compromise has already happened and the result was a CR. Then House Republicans attached amendments to the CR in order to try to weaken and kill Obamacare. Negotiating now would only result in a gutting of the President’s signature legislation and it would encourage the Republicans to use this hostage taking strategy again.

 

Healthcare.gov has been crashing and experiencing technical difficulties just proving how the government can’t handle healthcare.

Granted the Administration should have probably anticipated heavy traffic on the website in the first few days of the marketplace exchange enrollment period and allocated servers and resources accordingly. However, this is one of those good problems – the website is crashing because there is HUGE demand. It’s awkward for the GOP to slam the president with the argument that no one wants Obamacare and at the same time slam him for the website crashing due to unprecedented traffic.

 

Fox News: The Government Shutdown is not really a big deal. In fact, people will realize that they don’t really need that much government anyway.

Assuming that you or some one you know are not one of an estimated 800,000 federal employees who have been indefinitely furloughed without pay, the shutdown costs the tax payers an estimated 300 million dollars a day. Admittedly $300 million is a very small part of the overall US economy, but it is a lot of money when you consider that this is a completely unnecessary shutdown and if Speaker Boehner would just allow a vote on a clean CR, it would pass and the shutdown would be over. On top of the distress to the furloughed employees and the cost to the taxpayer, people will soon begin to notice their lack of access to government services and programs. It is true that this shutdown is not the end of the world, but it is irresponsible and if this fight carries over into a battle over raising the debt celing the consequences could be utterly disastrous for the economy.

 

So what’s the bottom line?

Basically the Democrats have to hold firm and wait for the more moderate wing of the Republican Party to pressure the Tea Party to come back to reality and pass a clean Continuing Resolution and re-open the government. There is the possibility of negotiating a bigger deal that would raise the debt ceiling as well as actually produce a budget instead of just a CR. A larger budget deal may allow the Republicans to save face and walk back from the ledge but, ANY concessions on Obamacare have to be completely off the table.

 

 

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