Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) addresses the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, in Washington. • AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Twenty-four years ago this week, the United States Congress repealed the first major health care measure that had overwhelmingly passed both chambers in years. "Rarely has a Government program that promised so much to so many fallen apart so fast," wrote The New York Times on Oct. 9, 1989.
Four days earlier, the House repealed the law 360 to 66 - the same bill it approved by a vote of 328 to 72 just a mere 16 months before. Two days later, the Senate voted 99 to 0 to repeal the act with the exception of a single provision for long-term hospital benefits, where a year earlier the legislation passed the Senate 86 to 11.
Fast-forward to the present, this week, National Journal's Ron Fournier observed, "The strange thing is that Obamacare could be a good issue for the GOP. Why not wait for it to go into effect, seize on the flaws, and quoting a seasoned Republican congressman, win some elections."
Now moving into the third week of the shutdown, Republicans are bearing the predicted brunt of the blame and the most puzzling question remains: how on earth did congressional Republicans fail to perceive the historical blueprint afforded by the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act debacle and repeal of 1989? And by missing it, lose the advantage of applying similar sequencing to an Obamacare repeal and defund strategy.
One 2013 Republican candidate facing the direct headwinds of the government shutdown is New York City mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota, who condemned the impasse in an interview with BuzzFeed this week. He made more sense than many when he said, "Even the administration doesn't know how to implement the Affordable Care Act - it's falling apart on its own weight."
Truthful reports are being written about Obama's Healtcare.gov exchange rollout wreck, like the one in Digital Trends, "We, the taxpayers, seem to have forked up more than $500 million of the federal purse to build the digital equivalent of a rock."
Instead, both congressional and local rank-and-file Republicans are left holding the government shutdown hot potato. These new members of Congress and the outside groups who enable them should crack open the old Congressional Records - and maybe learn the meaning of an end game.
A seasoned Republican consultant, Chris Henick is currently founder and co-chairman of Blueprint Advisors LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based business advisory and message strategy firm. Follow him on Twitter at @HCHenick.