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Monday, October 7, 2013

How the GOP can win the shutdown -- By Dean Clancy, The Washington Times

Illustration by Alexander Hunter for The Washington Times (Illustration by Alexander Hunter, The Washington Times)

The GOP can win the Obamacare shutdown standoff — by standing strong.

Despite what many inside the Beltway think, Republicans hold a strong hand, strong enough to make a policy victory quite plausible.

Of course, in the event a handful of nervous House Republicans emulate the English army at the Battle of Hastings and break ranks on the cusp of victory, the GOP will suffer a tragic rout that would be not only disastrous, but unnecessary.

News reports suggest a handful of "moderate" House Republicans, fearful that the current budgetary standoff will hurt them politically, are tempted to desert Speaker John A. Boehner and side with Democrats to push through a "clean" continuing resolution. A clean measure would fund the entire government for a few months, minus a provision to delay Obamacare for a year. The health care law takes full effect on Jan. 1. To date, the House has approved the delay twice.

Obamacare is the key to victory for both sides in the standoff. It is what's keeping parts of the government shuttered. Strike a deal on it, and the government will reopen.

What do Republicans need? A halt to the Washington health care takeover. What do Democrats need? More spending for their constituencies, who are chafing under the current, sequestration levels. The obstacle? Democrats won't hear of changing Obamacare. It needs no fixes, they protest. It's the law of the land.

The outlines of a deal are clear: Republicans agree to a bit more spending, Democrats to a temporary Obamacare delay. This deal is doable, if Republicans stand firm, for three reasons:

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