The House GOP leadership has a problem. The conservative base wants Boehner to use the continuing resolution to force a showdown over Obamacare. Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and millions of grassroots activists want the GOP to block passage of a continuing resolution because it funds the unpopular healthcare law.
Boehner doesn't want to. He's afraid that shutting down the government will hurt Republicans in the 2014 election.
Boehner could be right. If the House blocked the continuing resolution and later caved, voters would likely punish the GOP. But by committing now to defunding Obamacare, and following through on their commitment, the House would force Obama and the Democrats to negotiate.
Obama knows that politicians are fickle. They want the easy way out. We all do. Obama believes that the Republicans would cave before he'd be forced to negotiate. But Republicans like Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) could change Obama's mind simply by signing the Mark Meadows letter vowing to vote against any bill that funds Obamacare.
By committing now, in writing, to blocking funding for Obamacare, the Democrats would know that reneging on an oath would be career suicide for Republicans. Sure, Wagner could sign the letter and later vote for funding bill. But she'd destroy her credibility. Voters would know even her sworn oath is meaningless. I know Ann. I like her. And I'm confident she wouldn't do that. She wouldn't renege on a signed commitment. I don't believe she'd renege on a verbal commitment, but words are flexible. Signatures aren't.
If a majority of House Republicans swear to stop Obamacare now, once they act on their promise, Obama will have to negotiate. Republicans can list 5 demands before funding the government. They can negotiate away two or three of them, so long as Obamacare isn't one.
Yes, it's brinkmanship. It's hardball. It's tough. Forcing a rival to negotiate always is.
It's also noble and courageous.
In 2014, voters will punish the loser. If the GOP caves in the face of danger, it will be the loser by default. If conservative voters believe the GOP House majority squandered its mandate, 2014 primaries could be difficult on incumbents.
Visit Rep. Wagner's Ballwin, MO office and politely ask her to sign the Meadows letter. Ask her to commit to forcing a negotiation and defunding Obamacare now. By taking your time to actually visit her office, you'll demonstrate your commitment.
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