Nothing to Apologize For: GOP Comes Out Fighting

Tuesday, 01 Oct 2013 11:54 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The Democrat-controlled Senate — not the GOP-controlled House — is responsible for closing the federal government by rejecting Republicans' efforts at compromise, House Speaker John Boehner said early Tuesday morning.

"We believe we should fund government, and we think there ought to basic fairness for all Americans under Obamacare," said a visibly exhausted John Boehner, flanked by members of the House GOP leadership.

GOP strategist Glen Bolger wrote in a memo Monday that the party should let Americans know it had tried to compromise by pulling back from plans to kill Obamacare outright to merely delaying it a year. "That’s a pretty big move, and is worthy of negotiation, not sneering rejection," he wrote.

It was a message seconded by Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana who told reporters that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was uninterested in negotiating.

"He doesn’t want to deal with our debt. He doesn’t want to deal with our deficit," Stutzman said, according to The New York Times.

Regardless of how the shutdown is presented to the American people, for stalwart GOP members, principle needs to trump politics.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa said Obamacare opponents would prevail, "because we’re right, simply because we’re right." As for possible political damage to the party as a fallout of the closure, King told the Times.

"We can recover from a political squabble, but we can never recover from Obamacare."
Other Republicans sounded equally determined.

"What was I elected for? To try to change the law on behalf of my constituents, to stand on my core principles and do my best to represent them ethically, honestly, based on the core principles we share," Rep. John Culberson of Texas told the Times.

It was a line echoed by Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico: "At times, you must act on principle and not ask what cost, what are the chances of success," he said.

Republicans commentators said party leaders have nothing to apologize for.

"There’s no reason for conservatives to accept rules of the game in which it’s always appropriate to agitate for an expansion of government, but illegitimate to roll it back," Ramesh Ponnuru wrote

Erick Erickson, editor of Red State, blogged early Tuesday that, "The government is shut down and the world is spinning on. You and I are still alive. In a few hours, my kids will go off to a school."

He pointed out that other essential government services, from postal delivery to airport security, will also continue as usual.

"The GOP now has no winning hand" unless "it now stands its ground and demands defunding Obamacare," Erickson urged.

But speaking to Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, columnist Charles Krauthammer was less sanguine, saying Republicans should expect to take their lumps in the media because Obama would brutally exploit the closure.

"This is a lifeline for an administration that's drowning."

Meanwhile, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow, "Everyone agrees that the debt ceiling is going to be raised."

"The question is whether Harry Reid and the president will maintain the same negotiating position they have on the continuing resolution, which is 'We will bargain for nothing. Give us 100 percent of what we want or we will threaten a default."

The Democratic line for the coming days was floated Monday night by House leader Nancy Pelosi, who, according to The New York Times, told a news conference that Republicans shut down the government, "because, as Harry Reid said, 'They don’t believe in government. They’re anti-government ideologues.'"

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