There is a good chance that they are right, but how can I tell? Could it simply be a rhetorical tactic to cover their bad behavior? They could use this same tactic to explain away anything that takes money. They could run for office, promising to beef up homeland security, and then not do it. Democrats could do the same thing on any number of issues (voting for it before voting against it, perhaps?). Might not it be better to give Obama the money, and if he misuses it, broadcast it to the world as an example of how rotten and untrustworthy he is? Sometimes it makes sense to give people enough rope to hang themselves with. Why cover for Obama’s mistakes?
Note: For those of you that still think Sarah Palin is even remotely to blame for Gabby Giffords being shot, and those who are convinced that Obama was referring to Palin with his “lipstick on a pig” comment (I wonder myself, but I’m far from convinced), “give people enough rope to hang themselves with” is a common expression. I am not endorsing hanging the president.
On the other hand, when rope (money) is scarce, and there is a chance the rope could be used to hang others as well (misused in such a way to cause harm), and the media can’t be trusted to tell the truth, I can certainly understand the reluctance to give away rope (money). In fact, if things go wrong, the Republicans could be blamed for going along with and funding Obama’s failures. It’s kind of a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation (also a common expression).
In the past I have criticized Republicans for refusing to meet with Obama on health care (they claimed it was a waste of time as Obama had already shown he was unwilling to compromise, and didn’t want to be seen having any part of it) and for refusing to sign a civility pledge (they claimed it would be used against them for simply exposing the truth). I argued that by refusing to play along, they made themselves look bad by their own actions, which are hard to explain away, whereas if they did play along, it would be Democrats that would have to make the effort to make them look bad, which is easier to defend against – at least to reasonable people. Who would you rather have on your side? Reasonable people or no people? The unreasonable people are probably lost either way. This current funding dispute appears to be a similar situation. However, signing a pledge doesn’t put taxpayer money at risk in the same way as funding border security.
When faced with tough calls like this it is best to try to be understanding.