Republicans should hold firm

Wednesday , October 02, 2013 - 11:47 AM

Ed Rogers, The Washington Post

Regardless of how we got here, the shutdown of 2013 is upon us. Republicans should not blink now. Using the budget to try to stop an unpopular, destructive, disorganized, partisan law is no vice. Yes, it would be preferable not to be in this position. But there is still an important point to be made and some good that can be done.

Even though Democrats and many in the mainstream media would have people believe that the shutdown was caused by Republicans’ anarchic insanity or psychotic compulsion, Republicans stand ready to fund 99 percent of the government. They also have reasonably offered to negotiate the future of the train wreck that is Obamacare.

There is no real legislative process under President Obama. He doesn’t have the skill set to facilitate a normal budget process or any other bipartisan legislation, and he remains ideologically committed to dogmatic positions. Under this president, how can anything get done in Washington except through brinkmanship and budget- and debt-deadline dramas? That is, after all, how the Democrats passed Obamacare in 2010. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid arranged things so the bill did not need to proceed through regular order. But that’s ancient history.

At this point, Republicans in Congress should be Clinton-esque: keep talking and look active. They should present ideas and make sensible offers for compromise in public and in private. Republicans can’t change every mind, but they don’t have to. GOP leaders need to show themselves to be patient, thoughtful advocates of their position. More voters appreciate what is really happening than the talking heads inside the Beltway would have us believe.

At the end of the day, Republicans don’t have the votes they need in the Senate — and those votes are not going to suddenly appear. There is no cavalry coming, and I give the shutdown a week at most. But the fight over Obamacare is not over. Regardless of what happens with this round, everyone is going to live to fight another day.

Ed Rogers is a co-host of The Insiders blog, offering commentary from a Republican perspective. He is also chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with Haley Barbour in 1991.

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