Analysis: Republicans in risky fight with president
by David Espo, AP Special Correspondent
September 25, 2013 12:22 AM | 676 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other GOP leaders meet with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday as lawmakers struggle with a stopgap spending bill that would prevent a partial government shutdown next week. <br>The Associated Press
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other GOP leaders meet with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday as lawmakers struggle with a stopgap spending bill that would prevent a partial government shutdown next week.
The Associated Press
slideshow
WASHINGTON — Under relentless pressure from their right wing, Republicans are in the midst of a risky fight with President Barack Obama they know they will lose, little more than a year before an election that history says they should win.

To minimize the damage, the party must redefine victory as something less than a full defunding of the 3-year-old health care law, yet persuade the most conservative GOP supporters that Republican lawmakers succumbed after a principled fight. All without triggering a government shutdown or a default by the Treasury, or otherwise offending independents whose ballots will settle the 2014 elections.

Already, party leaders are making that effort. “I just don’t happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said archly Tuesday. “All it does is shut down the government and keep Obamacare funded.”

That was one day after rejecting the path outlined by the party’s rebel-in-chief, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — who began a speaking marathon on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon in which he said politicians in both parties routinely ignore the voters’ wishes.

Seeking to turn the heat on to Democrats, McConnell said that four years ago they voted for the health care law with the “excuse that they didn’t know how it would turn out. Well, they don’t have that excuse now. I think we deserve to know where they stand now.”

In addition to the future of health care and a possible government shutdown, the perennial struggle for raw political power is at the root of the struggle.

Republicans will need to pick up six seats in 2014 to win control of the Senate, a tall hurdle but not impossibly so. The party out of power in the White House historically has won an average of three to four seats in midterm elections since 1934, and Democrats are defending a half-dozen in difficult circumstances.

In the House, the GOP holds a 233-200 majority with two vacancies, and the historical trends show a 27-seat gain in midterm elections for the party locked out of the White House.

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides