The Senate Conservatives Fund is now running radio and Internet ads against Sen. Lindsey Graham, a fellow South Carolina Republican, and four other GOP senators who have expressed reluctance to risking a government shutdown in a budget fight over Obamacare.
As much as I want to get rid of Obamacare, Im not going to deny Social Security payments to our seniors and funding to our military, Graham said in response. I think thats a bridge too far.
Graham, who has drawn Republican primary opposition in his 2014 re-election bid, noted that he is among 29 Republican cosponsors of legislation by Cruz to defund Obamacare. Hes also praised S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley for refusing to participate in the health-insurance program by preventing Medicaid expansion in South Carolina.
FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy group in Washington, is holding a Cardboard Lindsey Graham town hall meeting in North Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday, where it plans to display a cutout of the second-term senator if he declines its invitation to appear. Graham has scheduled telephone conference calls with constituents instead.
The Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks are also targeting Republican Sens. Burr, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Two other conservative groups, For America Inc. and Tea Party Patriots, are waging similar initiatives against some of those senators along with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
In the House, DeMint, Cruz and allied conservative groups are pressuring Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders to sign a letter urging no money for Obamacare, which was crafted by freshman Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina.
As he barnstorms around the country, DeMint is hoping to reprise the summer of 2010 when tea party activists disrupted lawmakers town hall constituent meetings with angry protests against the health-insurance measure that Congress had just passed with no Republican support. Those protests fueled a large turnout by conservatives in the November 2010 elections that gave Republicans control of the House, setting the stage for the partisan gridlock that has gripped Washington.
But in the three intervening years, several key events have changed the political landscape. Among them, the Supreme Court last year upheld Obamacare as constitutional with Chief Justice John Roberts, an appointee of Republican President George W. Bush, writing the majority opinion in a 5-4 ruling. And Obama was re-elected last November in a decisive victory over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, with Obamacare a central part of the presidents winning campaign.
Romney has joined a slew of other influential Republicans and conservatives in coming out against risking a government shutdown over Obamacare funding.
Such opposition from within GOP ranks doesnt faze DeMint. He said the House should stop holding symbolic votes to repeal the health-care law which its done 37 times in as many months and start using the power of the purse to withhold the money necessary for it to begin providing medical coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.
The next scheduled stop for DeMint on his Defund Obamacare Tour is Indianapolis on Monday, followed by rallies in Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh and Wilmington, Del., later in the week.
This might be the last off-ramp for us to stop Obamacare before it gets so enmeshed in our culture that its impossible to change, DeMint said.