But this week, as he wheeled through county after county, lambasting his congressional leadership and the Obama administration with equal fervor, Huelskamp is publicly admitting that a government shutdown to choke off funding for Obamacare likely isn’t in the cards when government funding runs out again in January.
The shift may signal a broader move away from the slash-and-burn tactics favored by some of Congress’s most conservative lawmakers — and a broader recognition on the far right that the GOP is in dire need of a tactical makeover. Of course, Huelskamp still says that Obamacare must be repealed, but he adds that he’s now willing to downsize his demands and “pass something that says you can keep your plan if you like it.” President Barack Obama, appearing on NBC Thursday, apologized to Americans who lost their insurance plans.
“There will still be a push to repeal it, a push to defund it,” Huelskamp said here, speaking in a rural health center. “There was a question whether or not the leadership [was] really active in what they wanted to do in defunding that — particularly the Senate side. At the end of the day, what I think is most possible, is dealing with this issue when the president lied 29 times when he said ‘If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it.’ We now have a bunch of Democrats that say ‘Hey, I’d support that bill.’ And we might be able to get that through. And that changes a lot of things.”Jeremy W. Peters and Jonathan Martin write at The New York Times:
Leaders of the Republican establishment, alarmed by the emergence of far-right and often unpredictable Tea Party candidates, are pushing their party to rethink how it chooses nominees and advocating changes they say would result in the selection of less extreme contenders.
The push comes as the national Republican Party is grappling with vexing divisions over its identity and image, and mainstream leaders complain that more ideologically-driven conservatives are damaging the party with tactics like the government shutdown.
The debate intensified on Wednesday after Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the deeply conservative Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, lost a close race in which Democrats highlighted his opposition to abortion in almost all circumstances, his views on contraception and comments in which he seemed to liken immigration policy to pest control.
The party leaders pushing for changes want to replace state caucuses and conventions, like the one that nominated Mr. Cuccinelli, with a more open primary system that they believe will draw a broader cross-section of Republicans and produce more moderate candidates.