Follow-up: Tea Party rebelling on “defunding ObamaCare”

I wrote some about this earlier, but humans are not known for their attentions spans, so here’s a follow-up. At the Great Orange Satan, Joan McCarter has a video of a tea-flavored town hall with Congressman Robert Pittenger (R-NC), wherein he expresses his disagreement with the tactic of shutting down the entire government just to “defund ObamaCare.” Needless to say, his audience is not pleased.

Now, as McCarter points out, failing to pass the a continuing resolution to keep the federal government operational wouldn’t even have the intended effect of defunding the subsidies that fund the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act; that spending is mandatory, and would continue even in the case of a government shutdown. And most Republicans in Congress realize that a government shutdown would do severe damage to their hopes at retaking the Senate in 2014.

This, though, is the ultimate consequence of the conservative media frenzy against the Affordable Care Act. They frothed up the base by radicalizing them into believing that ObamaCare would institute death panels, mandate “socialism” (although what precisely that means to them in specific remains unclear), and generally be the end of America. Tea Party candidates bearing this radical banner further convinced the base that they could use the House’s “power of the purse” to eliminate funding for the Act, and got elected on that basis. And now that those Congressmembers realize the predicament they’ve created, some of them are apparently finally being forced to admit their own actual lack of power before a defiant base.

Marco Rubio, of course, recognizes that the Republican presidential primary will likely be decided by this same intransigent horde, so he will continue to push this idea to further his own ambitions, even at the risk of further deepening the divide between his Congressional colleagues and a desperate conservative base.

The rest of me is just going to sit back and enjoy the show.

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