Rich Galen

Gingrich was accused wanting to cut Medicare and Medicaid. What he wanted to do was to cut the rate of growth which, 17-or-so years on, was the right thing to do.

The maypole around which all are dancing is in this era is, of course, ObamaCare. When people say Boehner has no control over the Republicans in the House, I ask them if Nancy Pelosi was better.

“Of course,” they say. “She got ObamaCare through.”

The vote on the Affordable Care Act was 219-212. No Republicans voted for it; 34 Democrats voted against it.

She twisted arms, browbeat her colleagues, promised them who-knows-what, and snuck the bill through in March of 2010.

If you define “controlling her caucus” as marching them off a political cliff by losing 63 seats in the election later that year, then Boehner should be bragging about not being able to control the House Republicans.

Nancy Pelosi handed the House back to the GOP, which will probably keep it at least through the 2020 elections.

Harry Reid wants no part of a bill avoiding a government shut down that includes de-funding ObamaCare. He doesn’t want his vulnerable Democratic Senators to have to vote on it.

As the AP’s Dave Espo wrote:

For their part, the White House and majority Democrats in the Senate will be trying to protect the health care law that stands as Obama's signature domestic accomplishment – without complicating the re-election chances of senators on the 2014 ballot in swing states.

ObamaCare obviously wasn’t popular in 2010 and stories of universities and hospitals as well as retailers and manufacturers cutting hours and laying people off to keep their health care costs from skyrocketing has not made it any more popular today.

Obama can’t hope to duplicate the chessboard as it was in 1995-96. I said after the shutdown in 1996 that a skilled White House, aggressively on message is an unstoppable political force in America.

Obama’s White House is not skilled (as he proved to the world over the past three weeks), and it has no message to stick to at all.

And finally, he doesn’t have Newt Gingrich, who was Bill Clinton’s strongest weapon.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at