By Columnist Dick Morris
I know something about government shutdowns. President Clinton, Vice President Gore, Panetta, Stephanopoulos and I defended the last attempt to shut it down.
If the Republicans try to shutdown the government to press for defunding of ObamaCare, they will lose. The public will turn against the Republicans and they will have to cave in under pressure.
The public does not like government shutdowns. For some it means a loss of services, for others the threat looms, and for still others it exemplifies the partisanship and self-destruction that epitomizes Washington in general and Congress in particular.
There is a bare majority — 52 percent — that opposes ObamaCare, but this narrow margin is too thin to sustain so drastic a solution.
To give you an idea of how voters feel about shutting down the government, think of how they feel about teachers and schools. Do they think that teachers need more money? Sure. Do they want the teachers to strike and shut down the schools? No way.
In this case, the medium — the shutdown — will become the message. We won’t be focusing on the shortcomings of ObamaCare, the premiums, the fines, the diversion from full time to part time jobs, the limits on care. No we will be talking about when the passport office is closed and the details of the shutdown.
There is just not the public support for a closure.
Who will blink first? Republicans will. We are only as strong as out 20 most liberal members or our 20 weakest. Their votes, combined with those of Pelosi’s legions will be enough to fold our hand.
There is a place for Republicans to stand and fight and that is over the debt limit. Voters do not want the government to borrow more money and buy into the idea that we should cut spending before we incur additional debt. The GOP should focus on curbing welfare entitlements like Medicare, welfare, and food stamps in return for raising the debt limit.
If we try a shutdown, we will lose. We will be unable to hold the debt limit line after that defeat and all our investigations of Obama from the NSA to Benghazi to the AP to Fast and Furious to IRS will be undermined as the GOP develops a reputation for being obstructive and rigidly partisan.