Ordinarily, it's best to not to spend too much time on silly attack ads from the National Republican Congressional Committee, but this one carries a larger significance.
Under withering assault from the White House and congressional Democrats for their role in the government shutdown, House Republicans are hitting back.The National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday will begin airing 60-second radio ads hammering vulnerable House Democrats... "How out-of-touch is [Democratic Rep.] Ann Kirkpatrick with Arizona families?" asks one ad. "So out-of-touch that she voted to shut down the government in order to protect Congress' taxpayer-funded healthcare."
Now, on a surface level, the NRCC is obviously hoping Americans aren't very bright. But it's the part about protecting "Congress' taxpayer-funded healthcare" that struck me as interesting.
Lawmakers have already enjoyed taxpayer-subsidized health care for generations, but this new NRCC attack has to do with changes imposed on Capitol Hill by the Affordable Care Act. Lawmakers and their staffs will be required to get coverage through exchanges -- marketplaces that were designed for the uninsured -- but like everyone else with employer-based insurance, they'll get to keep the employer contribution.
Recently, Republicans decided to attack this, demanding that congressional staffers pay more out of their own pockets for coverage. Why do Republican lawmakers want this? No one seems to have any idea -- it's deeply dumb, even for them -- but as the NRCC attack ads help demonstrate, the party is heavily invested in this.
There are, however, two important problems here. The first is that idea Republicans are attacking came from a Republican senator. The second is that the policy Republicans are hoping to repeal was in put in place with the help and cooperation of the Republican Speaker of the House.
In other words, the National Republican Congressional Committee is attacking Democrats for an idea Republicans came up with and Republicans helped implement. The NRCC is effectively going after its own allies.
There's no reason the debate over health care and the budget has to be this dumb.