The GOP caves, or we get a gov’t shutdown: The 2 most likely scenarios

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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You might have heard the old football maxim that says: “Only three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad.”

If only Republicans had so many options. The two most likely scenarios for the defund denouement are as follows: a). Republicans cave, b). A government shutdown.

In other words, a sack — or an interception.

Sane supporters of the defund strategy (the ones who are only doing this for purely selfish political reasons) must be secretly rooting for option A.

Having already voted to defund ObamaCare once, if the House Leadership eventually does capitulate, the most vocal supporters of the defund effort will crow: “We could have won — if the surrender monkeys had only held firm! Hey, at least we got the House to stand up for principle and vote to defund once. And we showed the American public how bad this law actually is.”

This gets them off the hook.

The other likely scenario is a government shutdown.

Putting aside the potential toll this could take on an already fragile economy, the political ramifications could also be huge. Democrats, I suspect, would gladly allow America to go through a little turmoil if the end result were to completely neuter the GOP.

Let’s be honest. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Republicans aren’t blamed for a shutdown. What is more, it’s not absurd to imagine that such an outcome could cost Republicans the chance to pick up the Senate (and to potentially repeal ObamaCare if a Republican wins the White House in 2016).

This is a situation pregnant with irony.

First, for Republicans, this is a crisis of their own choosing. Conservatives are united by their opposition to ObamaCare, and yet, they somehow manufactured a way to turn this into a divisive issue. That’s actually a pretty amazing accomplishment.

It is also ironic that, just a few days ago, President Obama looked like dithering fool. He had been publicly humiliated over the issue of Syria. Yet somehow, Republicans found a way to change the subject from Obama’s failures — and make it about them — something they almost always find a way to do when he’s on the ropes.

Another reasons a shutdown might actually happen: Believe it, or not, some conservatives leading this fight believe that a government shutdown is actually a necessary ingredient for ultimate political victory. They have convinced themselves that Obama will be blamed for a government shutdown — and when things get bad enough — he will finally cave.

As National Review’s Robert Costa reported, “There is a widespread, [Ted] Cruz-inspired consensus among many conservatives that [Obama] will cave, if only pushed by grassroots.”

Think he’s exaggerating? Check out this Twitter conversation between center-right journalist David Fredosso and the “Senate Conservatives Fund.” This is all in response to Fredosso’s question: “Do you agree that anyone who votes to bring the just-passed defund-Obamacare bill to the floor is actually voting for Obamacare?”:

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 8.24.23 AM

This is an excerpt; you can see the entire chain here.

Notice that the conversation effectively ends when Fredosso asks: “How many months into the government shutdown” will have to pass before Democrats understand funding for ObamaCare will never happen.

Look, maybe I’m wrong. In fact, I hope I am. Maybe there is a rabbit to be pulled out of this hat. I doubt it. More likely, Republicans have invented a lose-lose scenario. It seems they set a trap for themselves.

Matt K. Lewis