The conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday called on Republican "backbenchers" in the House of Representatives to abandon their pipe dream of defunding or delaying Obamacare.
While it seems obvious that President Barack Obama will not sign a continuing resolution that guts his signature legislative achievement, leaders of the defunding movement like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint have assured their supporters that they aren't chasing a quixotic goal. That pursuit is raising the risk of a government shutdown, and the Journal made a point to emphasize the dim likelihood that Obama would ever sign such a bill.
Their demand is that the House pair the "must pass" CR or the debt limit with defunding the health-care bill. Kamikaze missions rarely turn out well, least of all for the pilots.
The problem is that Mr. Obama is never, ever going to unwind his signature legacy project of national health care. Ideology aside, it would end his Presidency politically. And if Republicans insist that any spending bill must defund ObamaCare, then a showdown is inevitable that shuts down much of the government. Republicans will claim that Democrats are the ones shutting it down to preserve ObamaCare. Voters may see it differently given the media's liberal sympathies and because the repeal-or-bust crowd provoked the confrontation.
The Journal indicated that while it's supported tea party members on Capitol Hill in the past, the conservative contingent is waging a losing battle this time around.
"We've often supported backbenchers who want to push GOP leaders in a better policy direction, most recently on the farm bill," the editorial read. "But it's something else entirely to sabotage any plan with a chance of succeeding and pretend to have "leverage" that exists only in the world of townhall applause lines and fundraising letters."