Rand Paul, speaking to reporters in Michigan Saturday, admitted that the TEApublicans in Congress will probably not succeed in defunding Obamacare and that they probably would not be able to get rid of it. Later in the day he said that while he expects the Senate to defeat the House measure that would defund it he would vote against it. He did concede that there is an opportunity to compromise but that the time for that is running out.
Speaking later to Breitbart Rand attempted to backtrack saying that he was taken out of context and that what he had really said was that while, “we probably can’t defeat or get rid of Obamacare,” by defunding it they can make it, “less bad.”
Paul said that he thinks that there are some Democrats in the Senate from red states who would side with the TEApublicans on the vote although he thinks if it comes to a cloture vote they will stand with their party. Rand told Breitbart, “The Democrats stay pretty solid on a cloture motion. It will be an indirect vote and they’ll weather the storm. If cloture is invoked and there is a vote on stripping out the defund parts of the House bill that some of us favor, three or four Democrats will get a pass. There would be a 51-vote margin, and they [red state Democrats] may well vote that way [in favor of defunding Obamacare]. I don’t know. Most of them have been supportive of Obamacare all along, but they might think it would help their election to vote otherwise. But anyway, I haven’t really changed my position. My position has stayed always the same. I’m going to vote to defund Obamacare and I think that’s the best thing for the country.”
This of course makes perfect sense to Paul, he is the consummate politician, holding a wet finger in the air to see what his audience wants to hear and finding that to be the exact position he holds, even if he took a stance the previous day, speaking to a different audience that is diametrically opposed. When ones convictions are malleable he tends to see others as operating on the same level.
Just before the House vote for the CR which strips funding for Obamacare he told Sean Hannity, “Everybody comes up to me and says defund it, Obamacare’s a disaster, we don’t want it.” To his credit, unlike so many in his party he told Hannity that he does not think that they should shut down the government, only that they should defund Obamacare. Of course that is not going to happen, they only have two choices, give up on the notion of stopping a law after it has been enacted and ruled Constitutional or shut down the government, and the latter seems to be the course that the House and John Boehner have chosen.
He does, on the other hand insist that it is not the TEApublicans who are being intractable, but the President. He says that Obama is the one who has said that he will shut the government down if he does not get 100% of what he wants. The truth is that he wants them to fund a law that is already in place and they think they have found a way to eliminate a law which they do not like and have tried over 40 times to repeal, even while knowing that the votes they were taking were merely symbolic.
Whatever the final outcome we are looking at a contentious week ahead as the House and Senate slug it out over this CR. It is not going to be pretty and there is a very real possibility that we may see another government shutdown reminiscent of that of late 1995 and early 1996 when the Congress called Bill Clinton’s bluff and lost. Those who do not remember history…