The Republican Party has it exactly backwards:
• Don’t threaten to close the government down over ObamaCare;
• But do threaten not to raise the debt limit unless welfare entitlements are ratcheted back.
The debt limit fight is the right place to make a stand. The public does not like debt or borrowing and realizes that excessive debt is at the core of our financial problems. Obama looks strong demanding that the government stay open. But he will look bad demanding that we borrow more money
And ObamaCare is not the place to make a stand. Only 52% of the public opposes the program. While a majority, it is not a strong enough one on which to premise a national crisis. If opposition to ObamaCare were to rise to 60-65 percent, it would be different. But it’s not there yet. Once we all see our premiums increase and the young see that they cannot afford the premiums or the fines they will face and the elderly start facing a denial of care, it will change. But we can’t move ahead of events and expect the public to follow.
But all of America understands that our spending on welfare has skyrocketed and that we can’t afford it. Suspicions about welfare aid are strong and abiding. If the Republicans oppose any debt limit hike until means tested entitlements are put under control, Americans will applaud. Nobody wants to borrow to pay welfare. If the Republicans plant themselves on this issue and do not give in, they will score a massive victory that could go far to repairing the Republican image and sullying Obama’s.
There is no correlation between keeping the government open and funding ObamaCare. The linkage between the two only exists as a result of the technicalities of budgeting and the start of a new fiscal year.
But the link between borrowing and welfare spending is obvious to everyone. Who can but applaud a decision to stop borrowing until we stop spending? This is the battle line the Party must occupy and hold.
And by focusing on means tested entitlements like Medicaid, food stamps, and welfare rather than other entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, and Veterans benefits, we move the debate to an area of vulnerability for Obama. The Administration has succeeded in making everyone think of Social Security. We need to focus attention on Medicaid instead.
There is a time to fight and a time not to fight. The time is mid-October when the debt limit is up and the place is over welfare entitlements.
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