As Republican leaders seek consensus on a strategy to block Obamacare, some insist that partial government shutdowns in 1995 and ’96 weren’t disasters for the GOP—despite the sweeping Clinton re-election victory that followed those confrontations. But the current president embraces the conventional wisdom that voters blamed Republicans for shutdowns last time and that they’d also blame the GOP if it happened again.
Obama wants a showdown and plans to use it to his advantage. No one expects him to agree to repeal Obamacare under any circumstances, and if House Republicans refuse to pass continuing resolutions with Obamacare funding, he’ll welcome the crisis and its accompanying hysteria. Don’t give the president what he wants: there’s no advantage, and no honor, in forcing a confrontation where both the party and the nation are bound to lose.