Mitch McConnell isn’t the problem. Mark Begich is the problem.


There are many people today who are furious at Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Boehner for accepting this deal and ending the shutdown.

Not me. 

I’m done with a fighting a losing battle. I’m more than happy to focus attention on the colossal on-going disaster which is the Obamacare rollout.

The Defund strategy was doomed to fail. But instead of pointing fingers at Boehner and McConnell, conservatives should be happy about what they’ve been able to accomplish these last two years while being realistic about how much can be done while holding only the House. David Freddoso explains it best:

During the Bush era, government grew at an astounding pace under unified GOP rule (exceeded only by its growth over Obama). No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D created very legitimate gripes. And Bush’s Big Government Conservatism” went out with a bang with TARP in 2008.

The resulting distrust has borne horrific and bitter fruit. For many of the rank-and-file on the Right, the assertion that the sky is blue now becomes suspect if Republican leaders say it. Can you blame them? I don’t.

But this means that every deal that Republican leaders cut — and they have to cut deals when they don’t control all the levers of government — is automatically viewed as a sell-out, no matter what. This includes deals that worked out very well for conservatives, such as the one that created sequestration, and the one that limited the automatic tax increases at the beginning of this year. Many conservatives won’t be convinced that these were relatively good in context, simply because they feel like they’ve heard this tune before in 2005 and 2006.

[Note: Every last CatholicVote fan should read Freddoso’s entire article: “After the meltdown, finding reconciliation on the Right“.]

The reactions I’m seeing from my friends on Facebook seems much more emotional than reasoned. There are way too many people who want to waste all their ammo on McConnell and Boehner.

What they should do is focus on vulnerable Democrats up for reelection next year who support Obamacare.


“I’m laughing because while you spend all your time getting mad at McConnell, I’ll go win myself another six year term to the Senate.”

Folks like Mark Begich.

Who is Mark Begich, you ask? Well, he’s a pro-abortion Democrat from Alaska. He squeaked into office in 2008 after defeating incumbent Republican Ted Stevens. Stevens was being investigated by the FBI for corruption — and Begich still managed to only win 47.8% of the vote. 

We can defeat him.

This Obamacare law is completely owned by the Democratic Party and President Obama. Not one Republican voted for this legislation. And we’ve throw every roadblock we can at it. Obamacare has been and continues to be an unmitigated disaster.

Many opponents of Obamacare alleged that “if we don’t stop Obamacare now, then we will never stop it.” Well, if that is true, then we already lost this battle back on Election Day 2012. Because there was no way we were going to win this shutdown fight. Not with just one House.

But repealing Obamacare in January 2017 is still possible. But we need to get our heads out of the sand.

Step One is highlighting how premiums are skyrocketing for people. Even dedicated liberal bloggers at the Daily Kos are squawking about this. Then, let’s talk about the Obama administration’s track record on Obamacare so far. The Obama administration has given employers a one-year extension on the employer mandate. (Not the same thing as the HHS mandate, by the way).

And how about the Obamacare exchange website? These guys claim they can run the health care industry but they can’t even manage a website? CNN’s reporter tried for two weeks to sign up for a policy on the exchange website, but couldn’t. Obamacare supporter Ezra Klein was forced to admit that the Obamacare website rollout was a “big failure.”

Obamacare is pro-abortion. It’s pro-rationing. Despite campaign rhetoric, it is not actually designed to provide health care to 25 million without it. (No, they’ll just fine you if you don’t get any insurance. Simple, really.) And it’s going to it’s already causing families to pay much more in health care premiums. Actually, for tens of thousands of Americans, the Obamacare law means they’re losing their healthcare policy. Oh, and let’s not forget the hardship caused to workers already struggling to pay the bills: Workers are seeing their workweek cut down to 30 hours.


Obamacare is horrible for low and middle income Americans. Obamacare is horrible for the middle class. It’s horrible for those looking for a job. It’s horrible for just almost everybody.

The Republican Party was willing to shut the government down in order to delay this whole mess for a year. Independent voters, who will be needed to win elections in 2014 and 2016, and most Americans did not like the idea of shutting the government down. And if you don’t believe the polls, take it up with President Romney.

I didn’t agree with the strategy, but we tried it. And it didn’t work. As Larry Kudlow says, even the University of Alabama football team has to punt once in awhile. The time will come to fight this battle again.

And 12 months is a long time in politics. With every passing month, more and more people will be suffering from the effects of this horrible legislation. Come next November, the American electorate will be ready to support candidates who will do everything they can to slow this down and roll this back.

We can be ready for this.

The Republican Party can legitimately say that they did everything they could to prevent all of this harm from befalling on the American people.

Or we can spend the next 12 months attacking Boehner and McConnell.

I’ll tell you what I’d rather do. I’d like to spend every day of the next 12 months trying to oust Senators representing red states. People like Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Mark Begich of Alaska.

All four of these Senators represent states that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. And all four continue to support Obamacare with vigor.  All four of these Democrats voted in favor of the HHS mandate.

Hagan. Pryor. Landrieu. Begich.

(For those keeping score, the last two are pro-abortion Senators who claim to be “Catholic”).

All four are up for reelection in 2014.

All four can be replaced with Senators who will vote for repeal of Obamacare in 2015 to send that repeal bill to Obama’s desk, where it will promptly be vetoed.

But these Senators will still be in office when a new President takes the oath in January 2017. 

And all four of these politicians can be replaced by Senators who would vote for Conscience Protections. We lost that fight by a narrow 51-48 margin — even had three Democrats vote our way. But if you get rid of Hagan, Pryor, Landrieu, and Begich, then this Blunt amendment passes and it’s attached to an appropriations bill. Would Obama veto the entire appropriation over this provision? He might. But he hasn’t had to make that decision yet. Let’s force the issue.

Or we can complain about McConnell and Boehner. The choice is ours.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Joshua Mercer is a co-founder of, where he serves as Political Director. Mercer is also regular contributor with Catholic Pulse. Mercer previously served as Washington Correspondent for the National Catholic Register and Chairman for Students for Life of America. He lives in Michigan with his wife and six children.

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