The GOP is Putting House Majority at Risk

Now it gets really interesting.

Republicans in the House are determined to shut down the government, by holding defunding of Obamacare hostage for continued funding of the rest of the budget. In past budget negotiations, Obama has often been too quick to fold a strong hand.

But this time, the Tea Party badly miscalculated. They targeted Obama's personal crown jewel, the one piece of progressive social legislation that the president won't throw under the bus. So a showdown is increasingly likely, and Democrats could well win it.

The shutdown scenario could backfire on the right in several respects. First, Republicans are split at least three ways on how to play this game. The Tea Party is spoiling for this showdown, but the House and Senate GOP leadership wants to avert it. Even Karl Rove has argued against it.

As Rove warned, deliciously, in the Wall Street Journal, the GOP picked up a near-record 66 House seats in 2010 because independents broke for Republicans. But:

There is, however, one issue on which independents disagree with Republicans: using the threat of a government shutdown to defund Obamacare. By 58 percent to 30 percent in the GPS poll, they oppose defunding Obamacare if that risks even a temporary shutdown ... Going down that road would strengthen the president while alienating independents. It is an ill-conceived tactic, and Republicans should reject it.

You know the Republicans are in trouble when they reject Karl Rove's advice as too moderate. Polls show that most voters are more likely to blame Republicans for a government shutdown.

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