From this Saturday's the Journal Editorial Report, the pundits on Fox are forced to admit that, now that they failed to stop the Affordable Care Act from going into effect, Republicans are just floundering around with no “exit strategy” other than to try to extract some sort of price for their hostage taking, in order for them to save face.
They also admit that regardless of the damage they know it's likely to do to our economy if we would default on our debt, many Republicans are still willing to use the debt ceiling to force their legislative agenda on the Democrats. And finally, they admit that the only thing they really care about that might move them in the end, is if it looks like this dangerous and damaging stunt of theirs might cost them some seats in the Senate during the next election.
They've boxed themselves into a corner and now even the pundits on Faux “news” aren't able to pretend there are any motives that aren't purely political for Republicans to be acting the way they are now, which is digging in their heels, even after it's obvious they've lost the battle to repeal the health care law.
GIGOT: Okay, Kim, let's talk about the republicans. Where are they? There's some, publicly, and they have a common front, there's no question about that, nd they're holding firm, but behind the scenes, there are some disagreements. Why don't you explain what's going on?
STRASSEL: Well, look, the leadership never wanted to be in this situation of shutdown. It was sort of foisted on them by those who pushed forward with this defund strategy. But now having arrived here, they realize the importance of having some sort of honorable exit, because if they just fold on this, and this is the fear, that then Barack Obama knows he's got them on either other negotiation too and they're sort of sitting ducks in the water. They canter exert leverage again.
So, I think what is going on, along what the lines of James said, is there is this talk about whether or not you can't roll this up into the debt ceiling argument as well, where the President has been willing to negotiate in the past. You get some sort of, use the sequester as a leverage. You get some sort of budget reforms on the Republican side, and then maybe something smaller on health care that satisfies those who have been pushing defund.
GIGOT: Okay Kim, but that's the strategy that Paul Ryan and some of the other House leaders would like to get to as an exit strategy if they can, but it takes two things. One, the President has to negotiate. If he doesn't negotiate, you can't get to these kinds of negotiations.
And two, you have the Ted Cruz faction, which is basically saying we won't negotiate either over anything except Obamacare. What is the exit strategy that the Cruzites are saying? Here's how we... here's our end game. Here's where we want to arrive at? Do they have one?
STRASSEL: They have no end game, Paul. They've never had an end game, and, you know, I think what they're hoping is that Democrats are simply going to crack at some point under the pressure, but I haven't seen any sign of that.
In face, you know, they've been taking vote after very difficult vote with new unanimity...
GIGOT: The Democrats have?
STRASSEL: The Democrats have, because they understand, this goes back to Barack Obama's calculation, that this is the President's signature achievement, and to go so far as to do defund or even delay to a certain point is to fundamentally undercut that law and get rid of that achievement.
GIGOT: So, here's the thing, will they really be willing, this group of Republicans, to refuse to raise the debt limit? Is that what they're saying now?
STRASSEL At least some of them are now saying that, that you have to continue to not blink on that issue as well. Now, that is going to be a much harder thing for many in the Republican caucus to do because they are very concerned about the President's ability to claim default, and even if you didn't go to default, what would happen in the markets and the economy as a result of that?
GIGOT: Gentleman, what's going to happen?
FREEMAN: Well, I think you probably get some reform out of this, but I'd just like to emphasize the fact that the Republicans may not have perfect strategy or tactics right now doesn't mean they're not right on the underlying argument. We have too many entitlements, and here's another one, and I don't think the fact that Barack Obama passed this law means that it can ever be changed.
GIGOT: No, of course not, but the question is about the raw political math. If you on have one house of Congress, you can't expect to get everything you want.
HENNINGER: And the other piece of raw political math, if it begins to look as though some Republican Senators, candidates, are not going to succeed in taking those six Femocratic seats that they've targeted, and if some of the Congressmen from moderate seats in the north begin to look in peril, I think they'll be tremendous pressure on these people to start to look for an exit strategy.
GIGOT: As a 2014 election prospect.