If polls showed overwhelming support for the Republican plan to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act, it'd be easier to understand the motivation. But it's hard to miss the disconnect between the American mainstream and GOP lawmakers.
A solid majority of Americans oppose defunding the new health care law if it means shutting down the government and defaulting on debt.The CNBC All-America Economic Survey of 800 people across the country conducted by Hart-McInturff, finds that, in general, Americans oppose defunding Obamacare by a plurality of 44 percent to 38 percent.Opposition to defunding increases sharply when the issue of shutting down the government and defaulting is included. In that case, Americans oppose defunding 59 percent to 19 percent, with 18 percent of respondents unsure.
By any fair measure, 19% is pretty abysmal. Proponents of this scheme have been working to build public support for their idea for months, and they have yet cracked the one-in-five plateau.
And yet, while 19% of Americans are on board, 98% of House Republicans voted Friday for a spending bill that would shut down the government unless Democrats agree to "defund Obamacare."
Why, pray tell, would such an unpopular idea enjoy near-unanimous support among the House GOP?
Consider this tidbit from a new Pew Research survey: "[T]he dominant view among Tea Party Republicans is that lawmakers should stick to their principles, even if that results in a government shutdown."
It's not just Republican voters driving the House agenda; it's an unhinged faction within the Republican base. It explains the shutdown scheme, the 42 votes to gut the Affordable Care Act, the upcoming Republican debt-ceiling crisis; and even the fundraising scams.
If GOP lawmakers do shut down the government next week, they're going to try to blame this on Obama? Good luck with that.