They also re-elected a GOP majority in the House
For the House, Democrats got a MILLION more votes in than Republicans. The Republican majority was elected by gerrymandering. I accept that the system is imperfect and sometimes sucks, I'm not denying the legislative authority of the duly elected legislature. However it does completely invalidate your attempt to associate that house majority with a completely fictional popular-public mandate.
As to the claim but electing Obama was a referendum on the ACA that is equally stupid.
Considering Obama made it a central issue of his presidency, and a central issue of his campaign, it makes a hell of a lot more sense than trying to claim an anti-ACA mandate based on the negative one million votes by which the Republicans won the house.
Polls show half the country thought the law was already fully in effect until last week
Firstly, polls show a majority against Obamacare only when you include the percentage who "oppose Obamacare" only because it didn't go far enough and establishing a Single-Payer system.
Secondly, a comical percentage poll in favor of "The Affordable Care Act" and opposed to "Obamacare". A substantial percentage of opposition have no clue that ACA=Obamacare, and that a substantial percentage of oppositions is nothing more than clueless echoing of hollow "Obamacare is somehow bad" soundbites.
That is why our government was designed to operate with Checks and Balances. The budget ( and requiring it to start in a specific body at that ) is a clearly intended to put a hard limit on how far away the other two entities President and Senate are allowed to deviate from the will of the House. If the House ( the peoples body ) really hates something they absolutely should be able to kill it using this method.
It's interesting how you conveniently forget that one of the checks is that the House can't legislate anything, including budge decisions, without approval of the Senate. And they can't do so without Presidential approval, unless they can get a 2/3 mandate from both the House and Senate.
It also doesn't much help your case when the "will" of a majority of the House members is to drop the current shutdown bullshit and pass a clean budget, and it's John Boehner blocking blocking that easily passed bipartisan budget from coming to a vote. For internal party-politics reasons Boehner is allowing the radical minority TeaParty wing to burn down the house if they don't get what they want.
Does anyone who has really thought about this want the budget to become a political nuclear weapon?
Yes it absolutely should be.
Okey dokey... how about the Senate refuses to pass any budget.... zero dollars for border control.... zero dollars for the military... unless it's attached to some issue... lets say radical gun control. Here's a list of what sorts of guns are illegal, and it's a felony prison sentence if you don't turn in or destroy any illegal guns. There ya go. Using the budget as a nuclear weapon.
This is exactly why the TeaParty idiots are unfit to govern, and why the Republican party as a whole has become unfit to govern for letting the TeaParty wingnuts run the show. Because BurnTheHouseDown ideological extremism is DESTRUCTIVE. It's hurting the economy, it's hurting people, it's hurting the Nation. In a Democracy we're supposed accept that sometimes we just don't have the votes to get what we want, and we don't fucking threaten to blow up the goddamn country with nuclear weapons like a bunch of terrorists if laws aren't passed/changed/repealed to our liking.
It's not even like they are fighting over the budget, and saying they don't want to provide funding for ACA. They are demanding a change in law be passed, completely unrelated to the budget, and using the budget as a nuclear weapon to fucking blow up the country if their unrelated law doesn't get passed. No different than the Senate using the budget as a nuclear weapon to get a budget-unrelated gun control law passed.... when they know they just plain don't have the votes to pass that completely unrelated law.