American Dream DOA
By ERIC LIPTON and NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
Published: October 10, 2013
WASHINGTON — Under attack for the government shutdown, some of the most vocal elements of the conservative wing of the Republican Party are publicly splintering, a sign of growing concerns among even hard-core conservatives that the defeat-health-care-at-any-cost strategy may have backfired.
The dispute centers on the best way to oppose President Obama’s health care plan: to immediately try to bring it down by blocking any federal budget deal that includes funding for it, or to gradually build public opposition until Congress and the White House are controlled by elected officials willing to repeal the law.
On Thursday, the divisions were on display as conservative groups like the Heritage Action for America said they would not fight a short-term increase in the debt ceiling while Americans for Prosperity insisted just a few days ago that any increase be tied to cuts in social programs.
Their actions followed an unusual public statement on Wednesday by the Koch Companies, the conglomerate controlled by the billionaire conservative brothers Charles and David Koch, who sent a letter to the Senate stating that they did not support the effort led by Heritage Action to force the partial closing of federal government as a way to eliminate funding for the health care program.
“We want to set the record straight and correct this misinformation,” the letter said.
The conflicting opinions, which had been kept mostly private for months as the budget conflict in Washington escalated, reflect a growing fear that the Republicans will be blamed for fallout from the government shutdown without anything to show for it.