Quinnipiac polls the various Republican strategems for cutting off Obamacare before it can ruin America. Surprise! They're all unpopular. Another surprise! The idea of shutting down the government rather than funding the law is by far the least popular.
Do you support or oppose Congress cutting off funding of the health care law as a way to stop it from being put into place?
Support - 34%
Oppose - 58%
Do you support or oppose Congress holding back on increasing the nation's borrowing limit, which could result in a default, as a way to stop the health care law from being put into place?'
Support - 27%
Oppose - 64%
Do you support or oppose Congress shutting down major activities of the federal government as a way to stop the health care law from being put into place?
Support - 22%
Oppose - 72%
It's like Sen. Jeff Flake said yesterday—the GOP managed to find the one option less popular than Obamacare, and run with it. But that's actually overstating the unpopularity of Obamacare, which comes in at a mediocre 45/47 popularity split here. The GOP's holding the line over a law that's been, since the 2012 exit poll, unpopular with a bare plurality of Americans. It's really no surprise that they can't sell the country on the three-card Monte "hey, it's actually Obama's fault if we shut down, because he wants this law" strategy.
And it's in this context that I think Chris Christie's predictable call for Obama to LEAD is missing—maybe purposefully—the strategy of the White House.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday blamed President Barack Obama for "not bringing people together" during the government shutdown debate and said the president would be ultimately responsible for a funding stoppage.
"My approach would be, as the executive, is to call in the leaders of the Congress, the legislature, whatever you're dealing with, and say, 'We're not leaving this room until we fix this problem, because I'm the boss, I'm in charge," Christie said.
That's not even how Christie works! The governor of New Jersey is probably the most powerful executive in the country, vis-à-vis his legislature. When Christie took power in 2010, Democrats (who still control the state legislature) repeatedly tried to force him to adopt budgets with their numbers. Christie repeatedly vetoed them, or line-item-vetoed their priorities, then sold his cuts at town hall meetings. Voters eventually sided with Christie. Mind you, he did a far better job than Obama at acting as the bulwark against a legislative aggressor. But it was really the same strategy.