Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 3, 2011

GOP LEADERS GET AMNESIA OVER SHUTDOWN TALK.... How can you tell the prospect of a government shutdown is getting increasingly serious? The most obvious hint is the Republican effort to avoid blame.

Today, several Senate Democrats, including the entire leadership team, held a press conference to urge their Republican colleagues to do the right thing, and not shut down the government. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took the lead, but he and the other Dems were joined by economist Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody's Analytics and a former advisor to John McCain's presidential campaign.

Their collective message was straightforward: be responsible, let cooler heads prevail, and don't shut down the government.

For their part, Republicans said a shut down can be avoided just so long as Dems give the GOP what it wants in the form of budget cuts.

"As Republicans focus on constructive ways for the two parties to work together on cutting spending and debt, Sen. Schumer seems strangely preoccupied with the notion of a government shutdown," a spokesperson for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said. "It is our hope that he soon realizes the only person talking about a shutdown is Sen. Schumer."

It's hard to overstate how very wrong this is. Schumer isn't the one who brought this up. Indeed, it was Mitch McConnell who, just a few days ago, appeared on national television and refused to take a government shutdown off the table.

More importantly, to argue that Dems and Schumer are "the only" ones "talking about a shutdown" is just laughably dishonest. The list of Republican lawmakers who've been threatening, almost welcoming, a government shutdown is fairly long, and keeps growing. It's not as if Democrats just came up with this fear out of thin air.

One GOP senator described the possibility of a shutdown as "absolutely necessary." Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said Republicans should be prepared to be "brave" in the face of a shutdown. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), insisted, "Listen, if it takes a shutdown of government to stop the runaway spending, we owe that to our children and our grandchildren."

Two months before the midterms, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) attended disgraced GOP lobbyist Ralph Reed's shindig, brought up shutting down the government, and was cheered. He replied, "That's what I wanted to hear! A good clap for that!"

And don't even get me started on the Republican activists and media figures who've spent a year celebrating the idea of a shutdown.

"The only person talking about a shutdown is Sen. Schumer"? I know some of these guys are paid to say nonsensical things like this, but people who take reality seriously should know better than to believe it.

Steve Benen 4:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Comments

[Doesn't matter what you call yourself, you still aren't welcome here and yet another IP is now banned. --Mods]

Posted by: big brad blog fan on February 3, 2011 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, you forget....the only people that republicans care to message to is the Fox News set. They could care less about what anyone else says or thinks about them, no matter how moronic what they say is. As far as they are concerned, they'll brag about this back and forth tonight and call it a win.

And if they do shut down government and the stock markets world wide tank, they'll then blame Democrats and President Obama. Because on Fox News they believe it.

Posted by: kindness on February 3, 2011 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

You cannot be serious, even Rand Paul, Bachmann & Co - they certainly won't flip flop -or will they?
I want to know why every republican who is against the government health care plan has offered it to all of their staff as far as I know the staff have all accepted it, one of them had the gall to say 'Just because I don't agree with it I won't make my staff suffer' hypocrisy or what?

Posted by: j on February 3, 2011 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter McConnell: pay no attention to the hostage in my trunk, how am I supposed to leverage said hostage if everyone knows that that's what I'm doing? Oh, and memo to Gohmert your "children and grandchildrens" future was already mortgaged over the last decade, many times via your own voting record. You a little late to the pity party for that one.

Posted by: jsacto on February 3, 2011 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe i can't read correctly, but my copy of the constitution doesn't say that shutting down the governtment is constitutional...

Posted by: Kevin on February 3, 2011 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't the Democrats come up with a list of items to "cut" that are in GOP districts or States with two GOP Senators...like Kentucky.

Then force McConnell et al to either vote against their own constituents or admit when it's THEIR government spending, they don't consider it waste.

Of course, the media would do their best to bury the story, and the Dems themselves don't seem real competent when it comes to doing something like this, but a liberal can dream, right?

Posted by: MichaelF on February 3, 2011 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

[Doesn't matter what you call yourself, you still aren't welcome here and yet another IP is now banned. --Mods]

Posted by: big brad blog fan on February 3, 2011 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

such is today's GOP - up is down double talk. If the GOP blames Dems for something, it is always something the GOP actually did. If they take credit for something, it's something the Dems actually did. If they say the Dems are stealing, then the GOP is actually doing the stealing. They are the Grand Opposite Party...whatever they say, the opposite is usually the truth. More plainly put - they are a group of bald-faced liars.

Posted by: T2 on February 3, 2011 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

[Doesn't matter what you call yourself, you still aren't welcome here and yet another IP is now banned. --Mods]

Posted by: big brad blog fan on February 3, 2011 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

If they fuck up my 401k again, there will be blood.

Posted by: Trollop on February 3, 2011 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Hate to bite the rancid bait - but is it really lost on folks that Obama and (a plurality of, on good days) Democrats currently aren't having to take responsibility for anything they've done up to this point - due to the lag time between policies and their actual, tangible results - but instead are in fact having to take responsibility to repair the astounding failures resulting from the orgy of conservative ideology foisted upon the country most specifically in the last ten years, but realistically stretching well back into the eighties. One of the reasons I still have a lot of respect for Obama is I admire that he was willing, or crazy, enough to want to step in and try and fix the monumental and multiple disasters engendered by his predecessor, and knowing (but maybe not enough) that the media sycophants and flying monkey brigades would be tearing at his heels at every step, to say nothing of even thinking that they would try and help. And on that note, how long has it really been since conservatives really cared to promote the well-being and success of this country, as opposed to tearing it down in a childlike tantrum borne of frustration that the world has passed them by like a broken down van on the freeway shoulder? In the past the would offer paeans, albeit in abstraction, but in modern times, they can't even maintain the farce, and rarely try with the exception of frequent flag- and bloody-shirt-waving to their assorted minions when needed.

Posted by: jsacto on February 3, 2011 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Our democratic institutions should be forums of open debates where the better proposals are honed and worked on in a spirit of doing well for the nation, its citizens and our prosperity yet to come.

Instead, we get Republicans who are holding hostages, and demanding that others give in to their demands. What hollow men!

I dare good old Mitch and Johnny to actually devise, coordinate and advocate for a replacement to their repeal efforts regarding health care, to offer relevant proposals to deal with our deficit instead of threatening to do the crazy of not allowing the debt ceiling to go up while adamantly espousing the need to keep tax breaks for the top 2% among us, or even to show us how their ideas of governance (one of which is shutting it down) are the better way to go!

But what have they offered us? Squat, or worse, the U.S. Government soon not being open for business!

Now Republicans how silly and damaging is that? If you don't see the obvious, your insight will never recover! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 3, 2011 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

"rollcall.com" is a subscribed service.

Link fail.

Posted by: Rochester on February 3, 2011 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

There will not be a government shutdown because Mitch's bitch and the other Dems will give the GOP whatever they ask for. Schumer is just trying to scale back the GOP demands a bit. We saw this game in December. The GOP is willing to blow up the world to get what they want and there are not sufficient Dems to call them on it. It is how crazy wins.

Posted by: Terry on February 3, 2011 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

So take the repubs at their word and thank them for no longer planning to shut down the government. The reason that they are just talking generalities is that they want to make the Democrats responsible for coming up with programs to cut. Don't take the bait, let them designate what they want to cut.

Also, yesterday I saw an editorial from The Economist where their economist was pointing out that the republicans were just being stupid. First they increased the deficit with their tax cut for the rich by several 100 billion dollars and then they argue about cutting spending by either 50 or 100 billion. Normally The Economist is attached at the hip to the WSJ, but this impressed me as rational thinking on the conservative side. It's been so long since I've seen any that I was very impressed and wondered what has happened to our own conservatives.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on February 3, 2011 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats need to start aggressively framing this as blackmail and holding the American economy hostage to the Republican demands.

The Administration should say, in effect, we're happy to work with Republicans to come up with a comprehensive long-term deficit reduction program. However, we're not prepared to negotiate with a gun to the head of the American people and the economy. Republicans are threatening untold but catastrophic damage to the American economy (by threatening a shutdown of Government and a default that everyone agrees would be disastrous) if they don't get their way, and just as we don't negotiate with terrorists, we won't negotiate with hostage takers and blackmailers.

Now is the time for the Democrats to get their message in place and spell this out clearly for the American public. It's not just about the consequences of shutdown or default; they also need to make it clear just how the Republicans are damaging the democratic process, by emphasizing the "gun to the head" tactic. It's not over the top to label this as "unamerican".

Posted by: DRF on February 3, 2011 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

The people that are cheering for a gov shutdown relly fall into the category of be carefull what you wish for because you might just get it.
They're kind a like people who would be cheering for how purty that there house fire is until all the sudden it's hey my house is on fire here too. Somebody,anybody please help.

Posted by: Gandalf on February 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody other than JStew @ TDS needs to start pointing out that Mitch McConnell is a lying sack of shit.

Posted by: bdop4 on February 3, 2011 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

In the words of a great philosopher,

"We can't win against obsession. They care, we don't. They win."

(Ford Prefect)

And that's it, in a nutshell. This is a game of chicken and I have no doubts at all that the Republicans will cause the crash if they don't get what they want. It's the advantage of allowing your party to be co-opted by its rabid base: No one who's watching can honestly say, "They're crazy but not that crazy". And when every bit of politics has been turned into a moral crusade, there isn't much room for compromise. I think the oligarchs of the GOP think they've found a useful drum to pound but are going to be ghastly surprised when their foaming attack dogs drag them and us over the cliff.

And part of me is morbidly apocalyptic and says, "Screw it. Call their raise. Let's see where the chips fall."

Posted by: Bernard HP Gilroy on February 3, 2011 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Here is the reality of a government shutdown. I know I was a Federal Government employee during the last one. When it was all over and the Republicans looked like the spoiled little brats they were, ALL employees of the Federal Government were PAID as though we had been at worked during the furlough periods. We were PAID to stay home and watch this stupid little spat between the children fighting over the football. If that isn't a great big waste of money, I don't know what. Don't get me wrong, getting paid while on an unscheduled vacation was fine with me; however, I did not like the uncertainty of my job at the time. And, I would have rather been at work. Despite how ugly these Republicans are about this issue, if they do shutdown the government, I will bet you that they will also vote to pay the employees regardless. So, where is the money saved???

Posted by: Bonnie on February 3, 2011 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Just how would a government shutdown be good for a sputtering economic recovery and job formation?

We are going to have to rely on the Wall St. overlords to save things here. When their bond portfolios get roiled by the shutdown talk, word will come down to the Republicans to knock it off.

Posted by: bob h on February 4, 2011 at 5:10 AM | PERMALINK

I hope you're RIGHT, Bob H. The ONE THING that the Republicans will not allow is any harm to the wealthy and Wall Street.

Posted by: knightphoenix2 on February 4, 2011 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Keep up the GREAT work, Mods! We *appreciate* your dedication to keeping us "dishonest" troll-free.

Posted by: knightphoenix2 on February 4, 2011 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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