Why in the world would conservatives be giddy about shutting down the government?
There are a lot of reasons why it would be a terrible idea, starting with the fact that government spending is the only thing keeping America afloat at the moment. Big Business is holding us hostage over the prospect of a tightened regulatory environment following the ACA and Financial Reform and until Democrats figure out a way to entice them into hiring workers, federal funds are going to shore up state after state. Here in OK, a proposed Grand Prix deal was nixed by the city council, mostly because the city has already slashed its budget and can barely afford teachers, let alone pothole repair. In fact, many recent improvement projects have been finished on time only because of stimulus money. If the government shut down, those projects, along with similar projects across the country would come to a grinding halt.
But the practical implications of such a stunt notwithstanding, it’s unfathomable to me how Republicans can’t remember the outcome the last time they tried it. Actually, some do, yet they seem to think it would be different this time around. The truth is, it’s liable to work out a lot worse for them now. Americans aren’t interested in a government that does nothing, despite what conservatives say.
Personally, I’d be tickled pink if the first thing a new Republican congress did was to codify their image as completely out of touch and bereft of ideas. Watching them effectively resolve to do nothing would be entertaining though likely catastrophic for the average American. In some ways, if the public were short-sighted enough to hand Republicans control after the past ten years, then I think they would deserve every calamity that might befall them. However, despite all the ranting, I am an optimist. I think the public remembers just how traumatic the Bush years were. I think they might even remember how good things were under Clinton’s watch and how childish Newt’s class of ’94 was for thinking a game of political chicken was what the country needed or wanted.
I’m pretty sure a majority of the American public remembers all that. The question is: why don’t the Republicans?
(cross-posted on Examiner.com)