'I really believe we are in a great position right now," says Michael Needham, the 31-year-old president of Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of the nation's largest conservative think tank. By "we" he means the Republican Party and the conservative movement; their "great position" refers to the potential to win the political battle over the government shutdown.
Though Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is the public face of the high-risk strategy to "defund" ObamaCare, the masterminds behind it are a new generation of young conservatives, chief among them Mr. Needham. From a tactical view, the strategy has been deployed with precision. In August, only Mr. Cruz and a band of renegade tea-party Republicans in the House favored this approach, and the media collectively scoffed. But by September, House Republicans couldn't pass a budget without attaching the defunding rider that has grounded much of government.
"We rallied the conservative grass roots across the country," Mr. Needham says, and ran ads in more than 100 districts on the health law. It worked. During the August recess, these activists demanded that their members of Congress stop ObamaCare.
To most observers, who think the GOP is losing this fight, Mr. Needham's optimism that Republicans will carry the day may seem astonishing. But Mr. Needham says the second-guessers are wrong.
Of course he says that. In a sense he's partially right, the GOP will most likely keep the House in 2014 because America (and our "liberal" media) will conveniently forget all this nonsense come this time next year. So many folks will happily vote for the same Congresscritter who hung them out to dry in 2013, or at least 50% plus one will.
These young guns are convinced they can succeed where their elders failed simply by being willing to destroy the country in order to "win".
Mr. Needham thinks, by the way, that the stalemate may drag on well beyond Oct. 17, the day the U.S. Treasury may reach the federal borrowing limit. He has little problem with the latest strategy to pass a temporary debt-ceiling extension, viewing the debt-default debate as a distraction from the battle over the future of ObamaCare funding.
President Obama is the one in an "untenable position," Mr. Needham says. It is "totally unfair to say, 'We're going to give a delay of the employer mandate, but we will not give that same delay to the individual mandate, and we're going to exempt members of Congress.' A united conservative party making the case, day in and day out, about the fundamental unfairness of the way the president is implementing this law is a winning argument," he says. And it "inspires people and gets them on our side."
So yes, the tactical genius here believes that by destroying America's credit, jacking up interest rates and costing the country possibly millions of jobs that it will "inspire people and get them on his side." And yet, he'll continue to give the GOP advice, and the "moderate" GOP will listen to and go along with every word of it, just like they are now.