Commentary Magazine


Contentions

The Suicide Caucus

Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio insist they will fund the government only if it defunds the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But here’s the thing: They know their gambit won’t work. Defunding ObamaCare while Republicans control just one half of one third of the federal government is a pipe dream. What we need to understand, then, is that in this instance victory is beside the point. There’s no realistic legislative method that Republicans have that is capable of defunding the ACA. The fight is what matters.

What Lee & Co. are arguing is that the ACA is so awful that Republicans have an obligation to exhaust every possible avenue, even if they’re likely to fail. And so you hear a lot about the need to “draw a line in the sand,” about how they want to be able to return to their home states to say they’ve done everything humanly possible to defund ObamaCare, and how Real Men aren’t part of a “surrender caucus.” Sure, they may not succeed in their efforts–but at least they tried. And that’s what matters. If they fall short, at least they’ll have done so with a clear conscience, while daring greatly, with their face marred by dust and sweat and blood. Which is better than those cold and timid souls who oppose them. 

This attitude, while a bit too melodramatic for my taste, might be tolerable if there was no downside to failure. The problem is that on the matter of defunding the Affordable Care Act, there is. If Republicans pushed forward on this strategy and it failed–as it surely would–it’s quite likely that it would revivify the Obama presidency and damage the conservative cause.

It just doesn’t make sense to insist on a goal (defunding the Affordable Care Act) that you know in advance is unattainable. And you don’t issue a threat (we will keep the federal government shut down unless and until ObamaCare is defunded) that in the end you can’t deliver on–and which your opponents know you can’t deliver on. That lesson seems to have been lost on Messrs. Lee, Cruz, Paul, and Rubio. Thankfully it hasn’t been lost on their colleagues, who have no interest in joining the Suicide Caucus. 


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.