The national political debate is slowly shifting from Tea Party vs. Obama to an internal GOP rift over avoiding defeat in 2014 and 2016.
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn predicts that shutting down government to block funds for ObamaCare could destroy his party. “The strategy that has been laid out is a good way for Republicans to lose the House,” he says.
It’s “the dumbest idea I've ever heard,” adds North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr.
Meanwhile, the White House concentrates on taking its case to the country and avoiding another fiscal cliff on the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew insists there will be no negotiations this fall to avoid a default such as those that led to a downgrade of the nation's credit rating in 2011:
"Congress is going to have to pass a debt limit that can reach bipartisan consensus in the Congress and that the president can sign into law."
The President himself tells New York Times interviewers he is concentrating on those “who are working really hard, are trying to figure out how they can send their kids to college, are trying to make sure that they can save for their retirement.”
If Congress is willing to work with him, he is ready but if the Republican response is “no on everything,” he won’t “sit around and twiddle my thumbs for the next 1,200 days.”
Meanwhile, Barack Obama is also looking beyond that time as he hosts Hillary Clinton at a White House lunch today. No doubt one of the subjects of their conversation will be what happens next if the GOP doesn’t get its act together on mending the growing cracks in its Tea Party cups.