By Scott Tibbs, October 16, 2013
Recognizing that you will never win a battle you refuse to fight, Republicans in Congress should never have entered the shutdown battle they are in right now. We were never going to win this fight.
It is important to stand on principle, and that is what the conservatives in the House were elected to do. But there are ways to stand on principle without taking the kind of public relations beating the GOP has taken the last couple weeks.
Here is what the Republicans should have done instead:
- Offer a "clean" resolution to fund everything but ObamaCare in the weeks leading up to the deadline for funding the federal government.
- When the Democrats reject that and allow the government to shut down, offer it again, then offer a resolution to fund the rest of the government but delay the individual mandate for a year.
- After the Democrats reject that and allow the government to stay shut down, offer a clean resolution to fund the government and bemoan their unwillingness to compromise.
- Stay on message. Have a clear plan of attack. Do not be distracted and make sure everyone knows what the message is before they open their mouths before a live microphone.
We need to be realistic here. Neither Barack Obama or the Democratic Senate were ever going to agree to fund the rest of the government while not funding ObamaCare. This is the signature piece of Obama's domestic-policy agenda, and they are not going to give it up without a huge fight. Realistically, the only way we are going to repeal ObamaCare is with a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate and a Republican President, or a veto-proof majority in both houses. That is what we should be working toward.
The way you change things in government is by winning elections, not by engaging in fruitless legislative battles you do not have the votes to win.
Finally, please spare me this "ObamaCare is the law of the land" nonsense. The war in Iraq was "the law of the land" because Congress gave President Bush the authority to use military force, and that did not stop opponents of the war from working to end it. Bad laws can always be repealed, and ObamaCare is certainly a bad law. Even an amendment to the Constitution has been repealed. There is no reason ObamaCare cannot be repealed.