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Ted Cruz Admits There Aren’t Enough Votes For His Government Shutdown Scheme

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has conceded that his proposal to threaten a government shutdown unless the President agrees to defund the Affordable Care Act, or delay its implementation, doesn’t have enough votes:

Sen. Ted Cruz, who has crafted a plan to put the government’s finances on the line if President Barack Obama’s health care plan isn’t stripped of its funding, said in an interview this week there aren’t enough Republicans on board currently to make his idea a reality.

“We do not have the votes right now,” Cruz said, noting that to succeed, he’d need 41 senators or 218 representatives to get behind his legislation – which would provide a year of funding for the federal government, minus Obamacare.

But the Texas Republican, speaking with CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on “State of the Union,” argued a coming “grass-roots tsunami” would bring over fellow conservatives to his side in the next month.

“I’m convinced there’s a new paradigm in politics, that actually has Washington very uncomfortable. And it has politicians in both parties very uncomfortable,” he said. “And that new paradigm is the rise of the grass roots, the ability of grass-roots activists to demand of their elected officials they do the right thing.”

Opponents of Cruz’s effort say he’s risking a government shutdown in order to repeal Obama’s health law, and argue the president would never sign a measure defunding the signature legislation of his five years in office.

But Cruz casts the effort differently: Democrats, he said, would be the ones shutting the government down if they refuse to support a measure that funds all federal programs except Obamacare.

“President Obama, Harry Reid, will scream and holler that the mean, nasty Republicans are threatening to shut down the government. And at that point, Republicans have to do something we haven’t done in a long time – stand up and win the argument,” he said.

“We have voted to keep the government open, to fund the government,” Cruz continued. “Why is President Obama threatening to shut the government down to force Obamacare down the the throats of the American people?”

Cruz’s claim that the public would see the Democrats and the President as the ones shutting down the government in this scenario is, to put it mildly, incredibly naive. Whenever we have run up against one of these shutdown threats in the past, polling has consistently showed that the public opposes the idea of a government shutdown regardless of the reason for it, and that it’s the Republicans who have ended up getting most of the blame for the entire episode. There’s really no reason to think that things would be any different this time around.

We’ll see how this battle turns out in September, but given the fact that Cruz and his supporters don’t seem to have been able to use the August recess to their advantage, and that the House GOP leadership remains opposed to the idea, it seems rather unlikely that this will end up being anything more than an idle threat that accomplished little more than getting Ted Cruz in front of the cameras. Then again, maybe that’s what the purpose of this thing was all along.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Markey says:

    “Damm the votes! Full speed ahead!”

    :))

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    it seems rather unlikely that this will end up being anything more than an idle threat that accomplished little more than getting Ted Cruz in front of the cameras. Then again, maybe that’s what the purpose of this thing was all along.

    A home run Doug.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  3. DC Loser says:

    C’mon Raphael, don’t deprive me the pleasure of watching this disaster befall you and your fellow travelers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  4. sam says:

    “it seems rather unlikely that this will end up being anything more than an idle threat that accomplished little more than getting Ted Cruz in front of the cameras. Then again, maybe that’s what the purpose of this thing was all along.”

    Ya think? Catnip to the boobocracy, his constituency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  5. michael reynolds says:

    I think he was probably serious and would have loved to play the leading role in a shutdown,regardless of damage to his party or to the country. But of course that wildly irresponsible move would have lessened the chances that he would ever be trusted with the presidency. So better to fold his tent now while obliquely blaming the grass roots for somehow failing him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  6. CSK says:

    This was pure showboating, start to finish, designed to draw the huzzahs of the “base.” Cruz knew all along what he was proposing was never going to happen. But his fan club lapped up the theatrics.

    One thing he WON’T do is blame the grass roots, obliquely or directly; they’re his supporters. He WILL blame all those elitist RINO leftie liberals who lacked the guts to follow his courageous lead. And his fans will swoon with joy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  7. bill says:

    well they have pushed back on implementing some of it (not that Ted had anything to do with that), point taken! now all the wrangling about who get’s stuck with it and who doesn’t needs to get sorted out. it does suck when all these dems that voted for it in congress made sure they and their minions don’t have to pay for it, and the unions are also looking for exemptions (as they were promised!) so, let’s all bend over and get ready.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  8. humanoid.panda says:

    @bill: Cold you perhaps define the “it” we are about stuck with? Seriously, as a principled opponent of the law, could you explain what it does and why specifically you oppose it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:

    well they have pushed back on implementing some of it (not that Ted had anything to do with that), point taken! now all the wrangling about who get’s stuck with it and who doesn’t needs to get sorted out.

    It is heartwarming, isn’t it? I can see why Republicans are disowning a a plan that was modeled on conservative ideas and implemented successfully by a Republican governor. I mean, that’s terrible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  10. bill says:

    @humanoid.panda: we don’t know until we see it?! so far the amount of gov’t agencies that want no part of it as well as the unions who feel the same way just don’t bode well for the “plan”. quite a mess to help 12% of the country isn’t it?

    @al-Ameda: it was kind of based on romneycare- but his plan was very basic- the followup amendments made it ridiculous. ever wonder why the people of mass. would put a republican in ted kennedy’s seat ( to cast the decisive vote against obamacare?) their plan has grown so much that it’s way better (for grifters anyway) than obamacare. you can actually game the system up there, drop out for a few months and then if you get sick you can sign up again…let the state pay your way -and drop out again to save your money. brilliant plan there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  11. humanoid.panda says:

    @bill: in other words, you have no idea whatsoever how to answer my question . For a clue, you might want to check exactly what exactly is it the unions are opposed to, and how it has zilch,nothing,nada to do with the core of Obamacare, the exchange/subsidy/mandate nexus.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  12. JohnMcC says:

    What Senator Cruz has done is noticed the polling that 71% of the US public opposed his project, that 53% of Republicans opposed it but that 63% of “very conservative” respondents supported him. He has displayed their flag and will from now on will lead their campaigns.

    The objections that unions have is that many of their members will lose the ‘Mini-Med’ plans that they have negotiated for such low-income industries as fast-food restaurants. They also are responding to the delay of the ’employer mandate’. The fact that unions have been (mostly) reliable Dem-supporters should not imply that they are synonymous with liberals and progressives; their opposition to specific parts of the ACA should not surprise us.

    The individual mandate can be easily ‘gamed’ by healthy (mostly young) people. But there is a problem with the idea that they can drop into and out of coverage whenever it suits them. It is called ‘enrollment periods’. The way it works right now, the ‘exchanges’ will have a general enrollment period of 3 months. Anyone using an ‘exchange’ after that has to have a reason – such as loss of a job-related plan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  13. Pinky says:

    I don’t understand the Cruz obsession. Mike Lee said the same thing last week and didn’t get an article.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. grumpy realist says:

    @Pinky: Cruz is louder and more photogenic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    I don’t understand the Cruz obsession. Mike Lee said the same thing last week and didn’t get an article.

    It’s the same reason why Anthony Wiener gets publicity for his “adventures” and, say, David Vitter doesn’t.

    It’s the ” interest” factor: Cruz is sour and of a questionable background with respect to his American bonafides, while Lee is about as exciting as toasted (or untoasted) Wonder Bread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  16. merl says:

    He knows that but will still use it to part the right wing rubes from their money. I think the right wing is made up of two classes; grifters and rubes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. Funny to say that grass roots activity has both parties “very uncomfortable” when grass roots activism is what Obama did before and during elections. I agree that there is a New Paradigm emerging that’s demanding the right thing – it is the paradigm in which Republicans have become anachronistic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0