I am at work on an online-only column for Wednesday about this crazed right-wing Republican notion to shut down the government after Sept. 30 unless spending on Obamacare is taken out of any continuing budget.
But I’ll go ahead and tell you this much: I saw that 71 House members had said they would not vote for continued funding if Obamacare was contained in it, so I asked Caroline Rabbitt, press secretary to our ultra-rightist Tom Cotton, if he was among the 71.
She replied: “Well, since you didn’t send me the story you’re referencing it’s a bit difficult to comment on it…. I would assume you mean 71 signers of a letter to leadership about defunding Obamacare. If I am correct then your answer is that he generally prefers consulting with colleagues in person, rather than joining letters. But he strongly supports all efforts to defund, delay and ultimately repeal Obamacare, regardless the legislative approach.”
So what one might surmise — what seems clear — is that, yeah, Cotton would shut down the government — that presumably covered by “strongly supports all efforts … regardless the legislative approach” — which even Paul Ryan says is misguided because all it would do is stop discretionary spending, not entitlements, including Obamacare.
A gaggle of Republican governors pleaded just today with Republicans in the House not to do this.
But Rabbitt responds to say I couldn’t reasonably come to that conclusion from what she said. She wrote in followup, “I am not sure how you can make that claim based on my answer. I think you are inferring something based on what you want to be true, not what I actually said.”
I do not want anyone to support a government shutdown.
Perhaps she means she thinks I want Cotton to take an outrageous position. Make that — another outrageous position.
So let’s conclude here: Rabbitt stopped short of specifically declaring Cotton’s support for a shutdown.
I’m just honored she replied. Usually she ignores me.
UPDATE-UH/OH: OK, Ms. Rabbitt emails again to say, and I quote: “Congressman Cotton doesn’t want a government shutdown, nor does anyone else in his party. Only Barack Obama is threatening a shutdown. They’ve talked about not voting for a CR that funds Obamacare — the shutdown is just inferred, like you did to me earlier.”
Alas, she and I can’t seem to get clear on this, because now I infer that she just told me sure-as-shootin’ that Tommy gonna vote with Cruz, Paul and the other extremists for a shutdown unless Obamacare taken out, as of course it won’t be on account of being the law.
More to come between now and Nov. 4, 2014.