‘History of a Shutdown’

by Rich Lowry

Our friend Heather Higgins writes today from her insider perspective on the debates over anti-Obamacare strategy in the run-up to the shutdown. This seems an important point: 

For many in the defund-only camp, however, the flatly stated goal was to shut down the government and stand united until Reid and Obama capitulated. Indeed, the leaders of the defund effort were telling their members that defunding was possible, if only leadership stood its ground.

Why did this “hang-tough” way of articulating the goal matter? It is premised on the notion that Republicans could shut the government indefinitely and that this would eventually bring Reid and Obama to the table. Since the groups had no plan for pressuring Democrats — which is where the pressure on Reid and Obama would have to come from — and since, predictably, Republicans’ popularity would suffer even more than Obama and Reid’s, there was no foreseeable way to produce the desired outcome. Ultimately, this strategy set leadership up for failure.


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