Now change tactics

Republicans must establish broader, more convincing appeal to save conservatism

Republicans, having failed epically to stop Obamacare, would be wise to now cheer it on.

Its failure may be the only thing that can save the GOP from the dustbin of history.

What in the world were Republicans thinking, in shutting down the government in order to try to extort Obamacare concessions from the Democrats?

Can you say thick-headed and moronic? Did they really believe the Democrats would barter away any of their prized legislation – which they’ve been pining for for decades – because of a government shutdown? When everybody outside of the Tea Party knew the shutdown would be blamed on Republicans?

Can you say “no leverage whatsoever”?

We’re tempted to say it will take months if not years for the Republican brand to recover from this, but we’re not sure it will.

When next year’s midterm elections roll around, more quickly than anybody thinks, voters will remember who brought them the completely unnecessary, widely damaging government shutdown of 2013.

If not, Democrats will be happy to remind them!

What Republicans should’ve done this fall was to step aside and allow the Obamacare train-wreck-to-be pass by.

They should’ve told the American people that, while Republicans believe it will be a disaster, the Orwellian-named Affordable Care Act is the law of the land; that Congress and the president spoke in 2009; that the Supreme Court spoke in 2012; and that voters spoke last November, re-electing the architects of the law.

Republicans could’ve looked immensely magnanimous in doing so. They could’ve told the American people that, while they believe the law is a monumental mistake, that they would help implement it and make the best of it – knowing full well it would blow up in the Democrats’ faces.

Ironically, if Republicans really, truly wanted to do away with Obamacare, they wouldn’t stand in the way of it. Then or now.

But that’s not what they’ve done. In fact, they not only put themselves in front of the runaway train, but they dragged the rest of the country with them, by shutting down the government and impoverishing the very people they claim to be helping (such as businesses and families that depend on a functioning government).

Republicans comforted themselves (and no one else) during the shutdown by assuring themselves that 1) the Democrats technically were the ones who shut down the government and 2) the Republican-led House could shame Democrats into funding everything but Obamacare, if the House just sent over one government-reopening bill at a time.

We, and a lot of others, could’ve told the geniuses in the House that 1) nobody’s going to think Democrats were responsible for the shutdown and 2) the public won’t know or care about those piecemeal government re-opening bills Republicans passed after the shutdown started.

Note to Republicans: Most voters tune in to the big picture. The big picture in this case was of a Republican-led disaster.

Knowing our conservative friends, it’s quite possible their takeaway from this public relations disaster will be that they just have to throw a bigger tantrum next time, which could be as early as January. Many of them seem to think their conservative favorites in Congress merely caved too easily and should stick to their guns next time.

If so, those guns will be pointed, once again, at their own heads.

Sorry, friends. The problem isn’t that conservatives caved; it’s that they chose this ill-fated Alamo to begin with.

Conservatism doesn’t need to be louder; it needs to be broader. And more convincing. Conservatives are right about the direction and ultimate fate of the country, but their tactics are plainly disastrous. Stamping your feet won’t get you anywhere.

Conservatism had better get its act together, and quickly.

It may have but one election cycle left.

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Thu, 04/27/2017 - 23:41

Which side are you on?

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 23:41

Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon