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From the leaders of the GOP establishment to usual tea-party allies, a growing number of Republicans are splitting with movement conservatives who are pushing to shut down the federal government if funding is not cut off for President Obama's health care law at the end of September.
The growing concern is that the tea-party activists and a handful of senators, led by the troika of Mike Lee, R-Utah, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are marching into battle without a plan for victory short of Obama reversing himself on his signature domestic achievement—an almost unimaginable outcome.
"Next to impossible," said one tea-party favorite, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., last week.
And yet, the teabaggers fight on, insisting that the fight has be fought regardless of whether it will actually work.
"The only place that this effort is controversial is inside the Beltway," said Brian Phillips, a Lee spokesman. A total of 41 Republican senators would have to vow to block a government funding measure to guarantee success in the Senate.
"Yeah, OK, it doesn't look like we're going to get to 41 but there is a whole lot of time," Phillips said. "We're in the ring. We've got a full 12 rounds to go and we get to punch back."
There isn't a whole lot of time. There's something like nine working days in September before the government has to be funded and before the health insurance exchanges in Obamacare open. There's Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader, doing his damnedest to completely dismiss the idea and a Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, who refuses to endorse the plan. Instead, Republican leadership is moving the goalposts: "we can't shut down government, so will postpone this fight until the debt ceiling."
Heritage action (the astroturfers who put out a poll last week so transparently bad that even the GOP's most reliable cheerleader Jennifer Rubin called it junk) is going to try to turn up the heat with a nine-day August town meeting tour beginning today. They want to recreate the August 2009 revolt against Obamacare, but this time around they just don't have the juice—or enough Republicans with a political death wish—to do it.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 08:22 AM PDT.