How advice from three Frenchmen could have won the shutdown battle
By Michael R Shannon
web posted October 28, 2013
Speaker John Boehner is the Adm. Karl Donitz of Republican politics. Hemmed in on one side by the pounding batteries of the Mainstream Media and on the other by a mob of howling leftists eager to send him to a self–criticism session on MSNBC — Boehner desperately tries to negotiate a surrender to Supreme Commander Obama that will leave him with a shred of dignity and continued access to the Congressional tanning bed.
What really sticks in Boehner's craw is the realization he's going to be stuck with the blame for the shutdown defeat! He warned the caucus what would happen if they followed a strategy designed by crazy people. But no, they were intoxicated by the crowds at the rallies and stem–winders on the Senate floor. Victory was at hand!
Yet now the loonies are out of the picture and here Boehner sits in the ruins of the Shutdown Bunker wondering if Harry Reid will allow him to smoke at the signing ceremony.
That's what Boehner gets for trying to fight a two–front war. The struggle over Obamacare should have been either the continuing resolution shutdown or the debt ceiling. Not a bizarre push–me—pull–you that blurred the two issues and made the public think the country hitched a ride with Thelma & Louise.
Giving credit where credit is due, Boehner started out well. The House GOP passed the initial continuing resolution with everything funded but Obamacare and sent the bill to the Senate where is disappeared like it was term limits legislation. So the government was at impasse.
It's possible that if Boehner had donned a turban and started enriching uranium, Obama would have agreed to negotiate with him, but there wasn't enough time to install the necessary number of centrifuges in the Rayburn office building.
During past shutdowns our leaders attempted to limit the inconvenience. This was a policy the Obama Administration could not afford to follow, as I pointed out last week, because after losing the sequester a painless shutdown would help make the case for even smaller government.
That's why the Spite House made sure this shutdown hurt as many civilian bystanders as possible. Collateral damage was the order of the day. In total disregard of negative publicity Obama used his human drones in the Park Police to close the WWII monument, national parks, private businesses, roads, athletic fields and anything else they could get away with.
It drove Obama's approval rating down to Jimmy Carter Land at 37 percent, which is an all-time low for the light bringer. Yet he held firm, ironically enough employing the Nixon "madman" strategy. As Nixon once said, "I call it the Madman Theory... I want the North Vietnamese to believe I've reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We'll just slip the word to them that, "for God's sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can't restrain him when he's angry—and he has his hand on the nuclear button."
The only difference is Obama — totally lacking a foreign policy — uses the Madman theory to intimidate his Republican domestic opposition. It's remarkable that a fellow who wears mom jeans and would probably have trouble bench-pressing a juice box, is so eager to roll the dice when other's futures are at stake.
So as the nation's busy borrowers at the Treasury threatened to crash into an unyielding debt ceiling, Boehner was genuinely worried that Madman Barack might actually cause the country to default, if it meant he would win the confrontation.
So Boehner blinked and surrendered.
Here is where the Frenchmen could have provided the margin of victory.
If only Boehner had employed the Three Musketeer Strategy the county and the GOP would have won in the long run. The Three Musketeer's motto was: One for All & All for One.
Instead of allowing craven porkmeister Sen. Mitch McConnell (R–I'm not for sale, but I rent cheap) to seize the agenda and pass a combination government funding and debt ceiling agreement, Boehner should have had the House pass a bill that did that AND required everyone, every company and every member of Congress and their staff to submit to Obamacare this year without any waivers.
One for All & All for One; with the "All" in this instance being Obamacare. That way the fight is still about Obama's signature bill, the one he shut down the government to save, but in a brilliant bit of political ju–jitsu his bill is turned against him.
Making the entire country suffer under the full Obamacare this year would have resulted in a disaster at the polls for Democrats in 2014. What's more, the administration knows it, which is why it exempted employers from the mandate until AFTER the election.
Even better the Three Musketeer bill has the virtue of simplicity: all the money and all the Obamacare. With only two elements the media could not bury coverage of the Obamacare waiver removal, as it buried Obama's plunging poll ratings. (Most poll stories trumpeted declining GOP ratings in the headlines and only mentioned the new low for Obama as a passing aside.)
A Three Musketeers bill would have been a poison pill for the administration. Signing it means a disaster at the polls next year. Not signing it and defaulting because Republicans were too bi–partisan and Obama didn't want his signature bill to take effect for everyone would be a PR disaster even the media could not ignore. And Democrats would still face a wipe-out in 2014. All victory would have required was for Boehner to hold fast regardless of Obama's choice.
If the signature bill of the president is so good for the country, as the MSM claims, then Republicans should have done their best to make sure the nation gets it, as H. L. Mencken used to say, "good and hard." After all, what's wrong with using "settled law" to unsettle the populace?
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at mandate.mmpr (at) gmail.com. He is also the author of the forthcoming book: "Funny Conservative" Is Not an Oxymoron. (Or any other type of moron).