The Republican Party is spending its summer engaged in traditional, old-timey fun, like this massive tug-of-war between congressional leadership and conservative members and activists over Obamacare. The leadership is diligently trying to pull the party toward an intricate legislative solution to the dispute, while the base is organizing all of its friends over to yank everyone off a cliff.
That's a little strong, but perhaps not too much. There's a to-hell-with-it feel to the Republican base's opposition to Obamacare. If Democrats in the Senate or the White House won't vote to kill the program, a program central to conservative critique of Obama and the opposition and the government, then shut it all down. Don't fund anything, let government rot.
Which makes sense given that the majority of those supporting the tactic don't actually work for the government. The Hill reports that members of Congress are increasingly hearing that demand out in their districts. One example:
[Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas] said the federal government’s move this month to subsidize health insurance for lawmakers and staff required to enter ObamaCare’s exchanges is acting as an "accelerant" and "driving people into a froth" about shutting the government down over ObamaCare funding.
"I'm hearing a lot of anger that is right beneath the surface, ready to erupt," Burgess said. At one town hall, Burgess said support for the defunding threat was "virtually unanimous" when he asked for a show of hands.
That's anecdotal, but it's not accidental. At RedState.com, a conservative blog / action center, Erick Erickson listed several dozen upcoming town hall meetings at which he encouraged readers to call for shutting down the government in lieu of moving forward with Obamacare. "Republican Leaders are preparing a series of shiny objects to distract you," he warns. "You must stay focused."
[M]ost Republicans are going to vote to fund Obamacare. But they have a plan to make you clap like a seal by dangling a shiny object in front of you. They are going to get the individual mandate delayed — not defunded, not permanently killed, but delayed a year.
Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark — bark louder you conservative seals. Clap for your sardine.
This is just plain ol' organizing. In another context, it would be critiqued for being an echo of Saul Alinsky. And it's why the Republican leadership — almost entirely in the eternally rambunctious House — has a legitimate problem on its hands.