Recent proposals coming from the House GOP leadership on how to address Obamacare reminded me of a sleazy — and illegal — trick that some unscrupulous hunters use. You see, deer love salt. They crave it so much that they will go to it even when their other senses are trying to warn them of danger.
Called "salt licks," they are used as bait, knowing the deer will lose their perspective and rush to the salt so the hunter can gun them down.
The "salt lick" set out by the Republican establishment is the whispered promise that if conservatives will just allow the funding bill — the continuing resolution — to pass with Obamacare funding in it, they will somehow link "changes" to the hated socialized medicine law to the debt-ceiling increase that will be brought up before the end of the year.
And, just like the deer, if conservatives go for this ruse, they will be politically gunned down by those in their party who have no intention of doing anything serious to stop Obamacare.
The issue is one of leverage. By attacking Obamacare funding in the CR, the House will be funding everything else in the government, everything except Obamacare. Every day Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama refuse to go along, it will become more evident that any negative consequences happen because Reid and Obama want it that way.
Let the House pass a new CR every day, add money saved by not funding Obamacare to programs the Democrats are shedding crocodile tears about. They can have more for their wasteful and ineffective programs like Head Start but only if they accept the verdict of the American people and defund Obamacare. They can get a few more dollars for any of their welfare giveaways. They just can't have Obamacare.
All leverage in this instance is with the House Republican majority, they are acting responsibly and it would be the Democrats who would be the obstructionists. The "salt lick" approach is the exact opposite.
Does anyone believe the powers-that-be would ever allow a debt ceiling increase to be blocked for any reason? Does anyone seriously think for one second the threat of default and the subsequent "downgrading" by the ratings agencies would not swat away any demand for changes to Obamacare? Of course not.
If the House conservatives fall for the con game of the debt-ceiling ploy, they will be just like the deer at the salt lick -- exposed with no place to go and dead in the sights of their opponents' most lethal weapons.
The GOP establishment has, so far, treated conservatives -- both inside and out of Congress -- with barely disguised contempt. Their fear of being blamed for a government shutdown reveals their total lack of conviction and confidence in their position.
They have rewritten the story of the 1995 budget impasse so many times to fit their own fear and self-loathing that they can no longer distinguish reality and fact from the nightmares and ghost stories they tell themselves while huddled at the Capitol Hill Club bar.
What they really are afraid of is not being acceptable to the D.C. insider crowd. What is best for the country or what the American people want are so secondary to their thinking as to not even make it on the radar. It is just more important to be "in D.C." and part of the toxic, vapid social circles than it is to do the right thing.
There is a reason the Founders gave the House of Representatives the ultimate power of the purse; to serve as a check on an out-of-control executive. We have such an executive today. Will the House leadership step up to their constitutional responsibility and defund Obamacare; or will they lead their majority to an unnecessary and tragic slaughter?
Bill Wilson is former president and current member of the board of directors of Americans for Limited Government.