A Republican split on whether to shut down the government over funding for Obamacare would be close to suicide for the GOP, The Wall Street Journal claimed Tuesday in an editorial.
"Kamikaze missions rarely turn out well, least of all for the pilots," the hard-hitting editorial says.
The paper points out that the Republicans only power right now is in the House — and that is lost if Speaker John Boehner cannot count on his own party's votes.
"Perhaps the only war strategizing more inept than President Obama's on Syria are GOP plans for the budget hostilities this autumn," the editorial states. "Republicans are fracturing over tactics,
and even over the nature of political reality, which may let Mr. Obama outwit them like a domestic Vladimir Putin."
The Journal isn't alone in sounding the alarms for Republicans. On Sunday, The Hill also wrote that the GOP is in danger of collapsing into "civil war"
over the shutdown fight within the party.
Without congressional approval of a spending bill by Sept. 30, the government will shut down. But many congressmen are trying to tie the vote to a defunding of Obama's sweeping healthcare reforms.
Boehner has proposed a spending bill that would force the Senate to take a yes-or-no vote on an anti-Obamacare provision. But the idea was torpedoed amid pressure from conservative groups including Heritage Action and the Club for Growth.
Obama isn't going to take any action against the healthcare law, his signature achievement, Journal editors say. "Ideology aside, it would end his presidency politically."
If the GOP forces a shutdown, Republicans will argue that Democrats were the perpetrators for clinging to Obamacare, the editorial says. "Voters may see it differently given the media's liberal sympathies and because the repeal-or-bust crowd provoked the confrontation."
Obama may even hope for a shutdown "so he can change the subject to his caricature of GOP zealots who want no government," Journal editors state.
"He'll blame any turmoil or economic fallout on House Republicans, figuring that he can split the tea party from the GOP and that this is the one event that could reinstall Nancy Pelosi as speaker. Mr. Obama could spend his final two years going out in a blaze of liberal glory."
The Republicans insisting on defunding contend that Obama will be blamed for a shutdown. "But even they admit privately that they really won't succeed in defunding Obamacare," the editorial says.
"The best case seems to be that if all Republicans show resolve they'll win over the public in a shutdown, and Democrats will eventually surrender, well, something."
Journal editors aren't impressed by that reasoning. "If this works it would be the first time," they say.
"The evidence going back to the Newt Gingrich Congress is that no party can govern from the House, and the Republican Party can't abide the outcry when flights are delayed, national parks close and direct deposits for military spouses stop. Sooner or later the GOP breaks."
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