The national and state budget negotiations are shaping up to be a recipe for disaster for the GOP, largely because the Republican Party is being held hostage by hard-line right-wing forces: the tea party obsessed with cutting the budget (even though here in Montana we have a $300 million surplus) and the religious right are focused on cutting family planning and birth control – the one way to get to their supposed goal of reducing abortions. As Montana GOP Senate Finance Committee Chair Dave Lewis (R-Helena) acknowledged, these groups are calling the shots and the budget is being crafted to please them.
The GOP’s actions will harm their approval ratings with independent voters, which are key to winning elections for either party . Independents aren’t interested in ideology. They’re interested in problem-solving and passing a lean, rational budget. But state House Speaker Milburn (R-Cascade) isn’t worried about independents, he’s worried about the wingnuts in his own caucus, a strategy that will backfire for him like it backfired for the GOP nationally.
As Politico reports, Republicans were forced to give up the ridiculous cuts to family planning at the national level because it made them look absurd, allowing Democratic leaders to depict Republicans as willing to shut down the federal government in order to cut funding for women’s health care services. (It is already illegal for federal funds to be used for abortions, and has been for decades.)
This strategy didn’t work so well for Republicans at the national level, an
Americans don’t want to talk about abortion. When asked to name the most important issues facing the country, abortion ranks very low. They especially don’t want to see the abortion debate sabotage more urgent matters — like getting a federal budget and keeping the government open.
The effects of the national GOP’s strategic bungle aren’t over yet. Here’s the latest from the Colbert Report
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