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Can Republicans Win a Government Shutdown?
Townhall ^ | 01/10/2013 | David Harsanyi

Posted on 01/10/2013 11:08:31 AM PST by SeekAndFind

If Republicans do happen to force a shutdown in Washington, it's very possible they'll be embracing a political loser while doing the rest of us an immense favor. With three Washington-manufactured fiscal apocalypses -- sequestration, the debt ceiling and a new "budget" -- on the docket, the idea of shutting down government to extract concessions from the iron trap sometimes known as the Obama administration has gained traction among Republicans. Or, I should say, the idea of threatening to shut down Washington has.

Pat Toomey, John Cornyn and other conservatives have said as much, though they've littered their shutdown statements with comforting modifiers, such as "partial" and "temporary," to allay the fears of Americans, who apparently can't fathom existence without the Department of Commerce. Certainly, it would energize the conservative base, and it might be effective in pressuring Democrats into genuine spending reforms. Because, despite what you may have heard, it's worked before.

As recent Washington arrival Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pointed out, "we didn't default on our debt" after the notorious 1995 shutdown battle between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. "And the result was balanced budgets -- and some of the greatest fiscal responsibility we have seen in modern times from Congress -- because fiscal conservatives stood together and said, 'We need to be responsible.'"

Gingrich, who has seemed to have some reservations about the shutdown through the years, now defends it in the context of policy, recently saying, "We would never have gotten to a balanced budget and we would never have gotten welfare reform without that fight." Can the Republicans claim political victory again? I'm skeptical.

First of all, Barack Obama isn't Bill Clinton. The level of ideological stamina in the White House, not to mention the willingness to fracture the nation to protect spending, is rather imposing. Moreover, Obama has no incentive to compromise after winning an election convincingly, and with the help of some of his friends in the media, he's been able to portray the GOP as obstructionists for failing to rubber-stamp his agenda.

Then, John Boehner isn't Newt Gingrich, either. For all we hear about the latter's eccentricities and faults, the Gingrich Congress -- for a while there, at least -- was imbued with a sense of purpose and offered Americans a cogent argument. Folks may not remember, but in the early phases of the fight, Clinton's poll numbers were dropping -- and nothing hurt the man more.

The country, too, is different. We will never -- and I mean never -- hear Obama offer America a speech declaring the era of big government over, because, well, it would be preposterous, and it's not as if the country wants to hear it.

How Republicans shut down government matters, though. Failing to raise the debt ceiling would probably trigger panic in the markets. A more politically opportune time would be to deal with this when the government's general operating budget expires. Seeing as Senate Democrats have been unable to produce a budget for years -- and not a single politician has voted for an Obama budget -- Republicans have a case to make about responsible governing.

But even if the GOP risks losing the short-term politics, no matter how fortuitous a shutdown might be for Democrats, it isn't a situation any side could live with for an extended period of time. Obama would almost surely have to concede more on taxes and entitlement reform. Without a shutdown -- or the threat of one -- however, Republicans have no other leverage to obtain anything useful from the White House.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: government; republicans; shutdown

1 posted on 01/10/2013 11:08:42 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

We don’t have to win. Just shut it down.


2 posted on 01/10/2013 11:10:48 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: SeekAndFind

Conservative American Republicans could; sniveling, ball-less RINO bastards couldn’t.


3 posted on 01/10/2013 11:11:17 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Paladin2

Better now than later. Enough can kicking.


4 posted on 01/10/2013 11:11:33 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2
We don’t have to win. Just shut it down.

Agreed. Who would would decide who "wins" anyway? The media? We know what they will spin. If it shuts down, people will eventually realize that much of it isn't necessary.

5 posted on 01/10/2013 11:18:22 AM PST by Buddy Sorrell ( John Boehner is our Pierre Laval. We need a Charles DeGaulle.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Can Republicans Win a Government Shutdown?

Republicans cannot "win" anything in the public forum.
No matter what they do, they lose in the MSM.

They might as well lose doing the right thing.

6 posted on 01/10/2013 11:20:03 AM PST by grobdriver (Sic semper tyrannis!)
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To: SeekAndFind

They would have to battle Obama and the media - just like in the last election.


7 posted on 01/10/2013 11:24:49 AM PST by Iron Munro (I Miss America, don't you?)
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To: Buddy Sorrell
"If it shuts down, people will eventually realize that much of it isn't necessary. "

Not only that, as peeps bump up against idiotic regulations, they can be "temporarily" eliminated.

8 posted on 01/10/2013 11:26:36 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: Buddy Sorrell; Paladin2

The only real issue with a so-called shutdown, military pay and making sure we don’t default on our debts, are only issues because the Democrats have fought to make it one.

Historically (see, for example, 1995), those serving in the military have continued to be paid during a shutdown and we have more than enough revenue (WAY MUCH MORE) to service our debts.

However, in their desperation to keep America on an unsustainable fiscal course, Obama and his congressional Democrats are determined to ensure that our wartime military is both a pawn and their best leverage in this budget fight. This effort, which is almost as despicable as the late Rep. Jack Murtha’s “slow bleed strategy” to force troop withdrawal from Iraq, has no place in civilized debate, discourse, or legislative activity.

A “government shutdown” would do all Americans a favor by removing “non-essential” workers from the taxpayers’ payroll, at least for a period of time.

Regardless of whether or not such a so-called shutdown takes place, though Obama and the Democrats in Congress – who could have avoided every bit of this had they AT LEAST passed a budget, when they could have done so without a single Republican vote – should man up and take military pay and servicing our debts off the table as a negotiating tool.

Unfortunately, they’re unlikely to do so – a fact which speaks volumes about them as individuals, and about their priorities as an executive and as legislators.


9 posted on 01/10/2013 11:30:07 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: Iron Munro

Republicans need to hold a press conference and explain to the public what a government shutdown would do. Letting the media scare the public about the unknown consequences is working against you and for the Democrats!

Tell us now:

* Would Social Security, Medicare, Military spending be affected?

* Would we continue servicing our debts to bond holders?

* Would government employees pay be withheld? (A good thing)

* Can anything be done to force the Senate to reduce spending if the government shuts down? If not, an explanation should be given as to what comes after a shutdown.

Just merely saying a shutdown should or should not occur without the details is not satisfactory.

Speaker Boehner is waffling all over the place and is scared of a shutdown which pleases Obama, Reid and the Democrats.


10 posted on 01/10/2013 11:32:55 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

John Cornyn is all about... John “Go Along to Get Along” Cornyn.


11 posted on 01/10/2013 11:37:51 AM PST by lonestar (It takes a village of idiots to elect a village idiot.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I doubt they will shut it down because they are essentially cowards. They are just way too stupid to realize that they would rally the base (the base that stayed home on Election Day).


12 posted on 01/10/2013 11:45:09 AM PST by AdaGray (squi)
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To: SeekAndFind

I doubt they will shut it down because they are essentially cowards. They are just way too stupid to realize that they would rally the base (the base that stayed home on Election Day).


13 posted on 01/10/2013 11:45:31 AM PST by AdaGray (squi)
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To: SeekAndFind

Most Republicans (ie., working, taxpaying, traditional American families) wouldn’t even notice a “government shutdown”. No, it would be the moochers who comprise the Democrat party base, as well as the Democrat “mainstream” newsrooms, who would be doing all the squealing.

So I don’t see any downside for the Republicans if they shut down the government.


14 posted on 01/10/2013 11:53:37 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: SeekAndFind

The are lower then Used Car salesmen already so what do they have to loose. They are so low that there feet dangle if they were sitting on a dime.

Just one mans opinion.


15 posted on 01/10/2013 12:00:56 PM PST by Calif4Palin (President Palin sounds so good....)
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To: SeekAndFind

Either Boner ganks the “sheriff’s” credit card, or HE can pay the bill!


16 posted on 01/10/2013 12:03:11 PM PST by rawcatslyentist ("Behold, I am against you, O arrogant one," Jeremiah 50:31)
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