Late yesterday afternoon, House Republican leaders still thought they'd put together a bill that would put Democrats in an awkward spot, while satisfying the far-right. House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office vowed a floor vote by the evening.
But around 5:30 p.m. eastern, Heritage Action, an activist project of the Heritage Foundation think tank, effectively vetoed Boehner's idea. "Unfortunately, the proposed deal will do nothing to stop Obamacare's massive new entitlements from taking root -- radically changing the nature of American health care," the group said.
Soon after, the bill was quietly killed and the entire House Republican offensive collapsed.
With this in mind, it was interesting to see Michael Needham, the CEO of Heritage Action, on Fox News this morning, offering his assessment of the right's crusade against the Affordable Care Act. Needham said:
"Well, everybody understands that we'll not be able to repeal this law until 2017. We have to win the Senate and win the White House."
And I would imagine this was about the point Boehner started throwing things at his television set.
The Speaker, like other GOP leaders in both chambers, did not actually want to shut down the government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States. But Republicans did so anyway, egged on by unhinged extremists and outside groups like Heritage Action. The party must rely on extortion to go after the law with all of its might, they said, no matter the consequences.
GOP lawmakers did exactly that, suffered a humiliating defeat, saw their national standing deteriorate, and have literally nothing but heartache to show for their efforts.
And now one of the ringleaders of the crusade -- one of the far-right voices who demanded the Republican Party take this plunge, regardless of the risks -- is telling Fox News that "everybody" already knows the Affordable Care Act is safe until 2017, at the earliest.
I'm reasonably sure "everybody" wasn't aware of this, at least not on the right, up until very recently.