I laid down the marker last week at my own blog and I am laying down the marker here today: There will be another GOP-forced shutdown come January, and the results for the GOP will be even worse than they were the last time around.
Follow me past the decorative device and I'll tell you why.
As you probably read in today's post by Jed Lewison, Capitol Hill hasn't made any actual progress on a budget for the fiscal year that started back in October.
This should not surprise anyone who's been paying attention over the past few months.
The far-right Republicans who triggered the first shutdown have not budged an inch from their insistence that the sequester and the dangerous cuts to essential programs be continued, and that revenue hikes of any sort are anathema. The Democrats, to their credit, are not budging from their insistence that the sequester be repealed or at least ameliorated, and that tax increases on the rich must be part of the budget.
The Republicans think that they will be entering January with a winning hand. They think that they can do another shutdown and get away with it because of the problems that affected the ACA rollout. Except that most of those problems are already fading.
The media coverage on the ACA rollout, once nearly uniformly negative, has started to lighten up. Joan McCarter has a post today that quotes from an LAT story and links to an NPR story that show that the narrative is starting to shift towards a positive position.
And of course, there's the story in, of all places, the Washington Post, discussing hoObamacare is a huge hit in Kentuckyky, in large part because all the publicity about it has many Kentuckians aware that they are eligible for Medicare or other programs besides the ACA. The story features vignettes sure to tighten the sphincters of Republican strategists across the country. Vignettes like this one:
Soon, Ronald Hudson walked in.And this is in the poorest and reddest part of Kentucky, mind you.
“Okay,” Lively began. “What Hudsons are you kin to?”
“R.T., Uncle Lenny . . .” said Hudson, a skinny 35-year-old who worked as an assistant director at the senior center and had just been released from the hospital after a blood-sugar spike.
He’d never had insurance before and said his hospital bills were up to $23,000 at this point.
“Good night,” Lively said, tapping in his information.
Kids: five. Salary: about $14,000 before taxes.
“You’re going to qualify for a medical card,” she told Hudson.
“Well, thank God,” Hudson said, laughing. “I believe I’m going to be a Democrat.”
Imagine Ronald Hudson's story being repeated, with increasing frequency, over the next few weeks.
Now imagine the Suicide Caucus Republicans forcing another shutdown in January expressly to undo all of those stories.
And imagine how the Suicide Caucusers' fellow Republicans will be feeling come January when, instead of being able to leave town to do some fundraising to fend off right-wing primary challengers (challengers typically allied with the Suicide Caucusers and funded, like them, by the Kochs and other far-right patrons), they will be stuck in Washington, just like they were stuck in Washington for most of September and October.
And imagine the less-rabid Republicans knowing that their Democratic colleagues can for the most part save their money for the general because they're not facing much in the way of primary challenges.
I think you get the picture.