The weekly column from Clark Judge:
Scorecard: The Shutdown, the Debt Ceiling, the House GOP and Delaying Obamcare
By Clark S. Judge: managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.; chairman, Pacific Research Institute
If you want to see how the lockstep-with-the-Obama-administration media is trying to spin the American people, pick up Sunday’s New York Times (or click here: http://nyti.ms/15VMXAx<http://nyti.ms/15VMXAx> ). In the middle of the front page you will find an article headlined: “A Crisis Months in Planning: Conservative Focused on budget as Health Law Weapon.”
On a good portion of page one and all of an inner page, the Times details a supposedly stealth campaign costing “hundreds of millions of dollars [that] have been raised and spent since 2012 by organizations… leading opposition“ to Obamacare. Sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? Set aside that the Times appears to have counted not just funds for fighting the president’s national health insurance program but the all money raised to support a number of multi-issue think tanks and political action committees. By article’s end, readers surely sigh, “Ah, our beleaguered president struggles so heroically against such massive resources.”
But now compare the article’s big message to a single lonely paragraph half way through that inner page. It reads: “In the fight to shape public opinion, conservatives face well-organized liberal foes. Enroll America, a non-profit group allied with the Obama White House, is waging a campaign to persuade millions of the uninsured to buy coverage. The law’s supporters are also getting huge assistance from the insurance industry, which is expected to spend $1 billion on advertising to help sell it plans on the exchanges.”
So just one Administration ally alone is targeting sufficient funds to Obamacare promotion to reach millions of people. Another has $1 billion dollars devoted to the campaign. And, as everyone has seen by now, the entire U.S. government itself is working overtime to discredit Congressional Republicans fight against Obamacare. This past week, the White House apparently ordered the Park Service to build barricades around and doors to the World War II Memorial (which was otherwise open air) on the Mall in Washington. With their senseless government shutdown, the White House-ordered action said, the Republican Grinches have even stolen the ability of the Greatest Generation to see their memorial.
So as with everything coming out of the MSM’s coverage of Washington during the Obama years, the truth is close to the opposite of the story. It is the administration that enjoys the overwhelming resource advantage. It is Congressional Republicans who have shown brave heart holding on against a massive assault. And, as it happens, it is the administration that closed the WWII memorial. The White House just needed to tell the Park Service employees manning the barricades to keep an eye on an open memorial instead.
And yet despite all that is coming down on them, the House GOP won this past week, and a momentum appears to be building in their favor. The president’s approval-disapproval scores are under water again. Reporters are starting to ask administration spokespeople, why can’t you compromise?
I was on a BBC radio show last week. In a typical left-right paring, the other guest was a Cabinet-level veteran of the Clinton White House. After running through the Obama talking points, to my surprise he focused on the administration’s refusal to engage seriously with Congress. He could not believe that the White House was not involved in any talks of any kind with GOP Congressional leadership. If I read him correctly, he put the lapse on the West Wing’s doorstep, not Congresses.
What is to be done this week? Several thoughts.
The GOP’s targeted compromises have worked well. The White House and Congressional Democrats have positioned themselves obstructionist, a fatal place in any negotiation if you are seeking public support. Now the markets and the media are focusing on the debt ceiling. You will drive the U.S. government into default, they cry.
So take the debt ceiling off the table. The House should pass a bill raising the ceiling now, at least for the purpose of paying interest on the debt, even as the shutdown continues. If the White House says no, the president is to blame for the default. If Obama takes the deal, the GOP has won a round without giving up any leverage.
Last week, as it maneuvered the Democrats into the obstructionist corner, the GOP lost sight of the two core positions of the week’s start. The first was equal treatment for everyone — no special exemptions for big businesses or anyone else unless everyone else got the same consideration. The second was to delay all implementation of the act by a year. As Treasury secretary Jack Lew’s fumbling response confirmed when he was questioned yesterday on Fox News Sunday, the government isn’t even close to ready to sign people up and the public is not eager to be signed up. Both positions – equality and delay — poll overwhelmingly. Each represents a key compromise from the original defund-now stance, again making the administration the obstructionists.
On TV and radio and in their floor speeches, Congressional Republicans need to keep hitting on these themes. Against all odds, they have made tremendous progress so far. Now is the time to keep focused and keep it up.