There are still some dead-enders on the right, who go through the motions and pretend Democrats should be blamed for the government shutdown, but it’s awfully difficult to take them seriously. At times, it doesn’t even seem as if those repeating the talking points believe their own rhetoric.
A fair number of Republicans, meanwhile, are admitting what is plainly true. Take Rep. Peter King’s (R-N.Y.) comments on “Fox News Sunday.”
For those who can’t watch clips online, King said:
“I’ve been against this government shutdown form the start. Now, I disagree with [Georgia Republican Tom Graves], we are the ones who did shut the government down. Charles Krauthammer called it the “suicide caucus.” I mean, Wall Street Journal said they were “kamikazes.” You don’t take the dramatic step of shutting down the government unless you have a real strategy and has a chance of working. It’s never had a chance of working; we’re now almost pushing ‘Obamacare’ to the side and we’re talking about other issues, and people are still out of work and the government is still shut down.”
When prominent Republicans appear on Fox to say Republicans are responsible for the shutdown, it’s safe to say the “maybe we can pin this on Democrats” gambit has run its course.
It’s not just King, either. The American Bridge super PAC put together a collection of Republicans holding their own party responsible for this fiasco. It’s not an especially short list.
What’s more, new reports over the weekend brought into focus how the right shaped its shutdown strategy months ago, and then carefully stuck to the game plan.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Mike McIntire had this report on Saturday.
Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.
Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.
It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans – including their cautious leaders – into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.
The piece included a familiar cast of right-wing characters – Heritage Action, FreedomWorks, Club for Growth, et al – adding the billionaire Koch brothers “have been deeply involved with financing the overall effort.”
In other words, it’s time for the nonsense over who bears responsibility for this to end.
A month ago, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wanted to pass a clean spending bill to the White House to avoid a shutdown. At the time, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) pushed the argument – in writing – that a clean CR was a win for Republicans. When they’re being at least a little honest, some House Republicans are willing to admit that Senate Democrats already compromised when they accepted the lower spending levels far-right lawmakers demanded.
And given all of this, those who continue to suggest Democrats deserve the blame are clearly working from the assumption that you and other Americans are easily suckered into believing nonsense.