If Government is Gonna Be Shutdown, Own It, GOP!

This was Rush’s headline comment for his radio show today, and was his lead comment on his e-mail blast after the show. And it looks like that’s what the Republicans are going to do. I certainly hope so.

I was so frustrated with the Fox News supposed conservative panelists on Special Report last Wednesday. Both of them, Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, are deeply into Washington-think. When asked about who would get the blame for a government shutdown, Kristol said, “I’m not sure, but I think this is bad for Republicans.” And Krauthammer drew the same conclusions, reasoning that because Senator Chuck Schumer appears to be wanting a shutdown, Republicans would be the losers if there is one.

Republicans, if you think like that, you’ve lost already. But it appears that John Boehner isn’t fooled.

Interestingly, Kirsten Powers, the liberal on the panel, disagreed, saying, “If it ends up being a shutdown, it’s going to be ‘a pox on all of you.'” Her comment illustrates that it’s timidity, an attitude common to Washington conservatives, that undergirds the opinions of Krauthammer and Kristol.

Here are my points about the looming government shutdown:

  1. Democrats foolishly refer to the way the 1995 government shutdown turned out, claiming that they won the PR battle. Yes, that is true. The press treated them as victors. But look at the subsequent congressional elections in 1996. In spite of Bill Clinton being re-elected, Republicans won the 1996 congressional elections, and handily. 34 Senate seats were decided, and Republicans won 21 of those contests, Democrats won 13. In the House, Republicans came away with 228 seats, Democrats with 206, and Gingrich, who is portrayed as the loser in the government shutdown battle, retained his speakership.
  2. It is difficult to tell what Democrats are thinking based on what they say. They clearly want everyone to think they’re not afraid of a government shutdown. But take a cue from the left-wing establishment media. I listened to ABC news on the radio this morning, and their take on the looming government shutdown is that it’s not going to be any big deal. Sounds to me like they don’t think they’re going to be able to “blame” Republicans for this “catastrophe”.
  3. Why accept the premise that this is a matter of who’s going to get “blamed.” There are a lot of people, and I’m one of them, who like the idea of the government shutting down for a while. Why isn’t the question, “Who will get credit for the government shutdown?”
  4. Some argue that Republicans should not pick this as their battle, that they should wait until the battle over the 2012 budget before they draw the line in the sand. Oh, this is so wrong for multiple reasons. First, fighting over the 2011 budget is a great way to illustrate the ineffectiveness of the Democrat Congress last year. This budget was supposed to have been passed in 2010. Don’t let them wriggle out of this corner they painted for themselves! Second, giving the Democrats a victory in this round will only embolden them and make it tougher to negotiate with them next time. Third, if you draw a line in the sand now, that line will still be there for all the battles to come. Fourth, if you act afraid of a government shutdown now, it will be much harder to look courageous later in the year, no matter how negotiations turn out. No, this is the battle to pick.

The good news is that Republicans appear to be standing their ground. John Boehner said today there is no vote for a short-term continuing resolution scheduled. Yes, go for it Republicans! Boldly, with gusto!

About mesasmiles

By Dr. David Hall. Dr. Hall runs Infinity Dental Web, a small company that does Internet marketing for dentists. He has had a long-standing interest in politics and as a college student toyed with the idea of a political career.
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