Fork you, America: political chess move attacking Obamacare & budget creates win-win for Republicans, big business

In chess, a fork is a tactic whereby a single piece makes two or more direct attacks simultaneously. It’s typically difficult or impossible to defend both attacked pieces.

A core group of conservative Republicans created the political equivalent of a fork: defund or delay Obamacare or we’ll shut down the government. Democrats, and much of the pundit class, have been shaking their heads, wringing their hands, verily clutching their pearls in aghast shock. They have applied all sorts of mannered logical arguments against the tactic, which can be summarized as:

  • Implementation of Obamacare will not be affected by a government shutdown
  • Obama will not give up his “signature achievement”
  • Shutting down the government actually costs money, and thus is wasteful
  • This could hurt the recovery

They tried to reason with those Republicans in much the same way that a parent might use their sing-song “adult” voice when trying to reason with a child in full throttle temper tantrum. And they were about as effective as that parent, which is to say not very.

The Democrats and the pundits are all missing the point, though. The Republicans DON’T CARE what happens, because to them either outcome is a win.

“We have a number of Republican senators and lots of Republican House members who don’t believe in government,” [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid said on the Senate floor. “They want to get rid of it, and they’re doing everything they can to get rid of it.”

It’s obvious that delaying or defunding Obamacare would be a win for those Republicans. (It would also set a dangerous precedent: the child would realize that all they have to do is throw a hard enough tantrum, and they will get their way.) What is not immediately obvious – but should be once you Continue reading