The “Shutdown” Cage Match

On the one hand, Jennifer Rubin at the WaPo points out 15 signs shutdown fans have “drunk the koolaid“:

There has been, to put it mildly, some mass self-delusion going on in right-wing circles. Here’s how to tell if you are suffering from the ill-effects of the echo chamber.

On the other hand?  Steven Hayward atPower Lineis a convert:

First of all, like the sequester, have the majority of Americans noticed its effects beyond what the media has been screaming about?  The bullying tactics of forcibly shutting off public spaces like the World War II memorial on the mall has surely inflicted damage on Obama that, had he behaved with minimal restraint, he might have been spared.

Beyond this, have there been riots or even public demonstrations against the shutdown?  The political-financial crises in Europe and elsewhere in recent years have seen mass protests and street riots (Spain, Brazil, Greece, Bulgaria, etc).  Where is Occupy Wall Street when Obama needs them?  To the contrary, much more of the political energy appears to be on the Tea Party side right now.  Pretty clearly the shutdown terrifies liberals and journalists—and that’s about it.

Of course, it might be pointed out that this is a faux-shutdown: 80 percent of the government is up and running.  This is analogous to TSA airport security: it is shutdown theater rather than the real thing.  Stop sending Social Security checks and see what happens.

A fair point, but this leads to the next big question: which party most needs the government to be up and running?  Ask yourself which party is the party of government and you’ll know the answer.  With 90 percent of the EPA furloughed, what’s the downside here for Republicans?

More seriously, to the extent that shutdown and “government dysfunction” in Washington causes the public to hold Washington in even greater disgust than usual, who does this hurt the most?  Democrats need the public to have some degree of confidence in government for their expansive schemes to succeed.  Which brings me to the latest soundings on public opinion that Karlyn Bowman and Andrew Rugg have put together and displayed in the charts below. 

Bottom line: public confidence in Washington D.C. is at lows not seen since the 1970s.  (And we know what happened at the end of that decade.)

The takeaway?  I think a competent GOP leadership could make this into a net win in 2014 for the GOP.

Which means we’re screwed.

But for the Tea Party, anyway.

5 thoughts on “The “Shutdown” Cage Match

  1. One meaningless talking point I’ve seen repeated on lefty websites is that ACA was vetted by the Supreme Court and found constitutional. It’s meaningless because the SC was answering the narrow legal question of the individual mandate (and it was found legal as a tax, which Obama went out of his way to say it was not). Other constitutional questions are pending.
    And at any rate, the legality of the individual mandate is a misdirection. The current congress may fund Obamacare, defund it, or change it in any way it sees fit, subject to a presidential veto.

  2. I’m good with several of those points. The fundamental question always boils down to “Is it time to fight yet? Is this as far as we can be pushed? Are we done retreating now?” For Establishment Republicans, the answer is always NO, it is not time to fight, we can retreat a little farther. That’s understandable – even in Revolutionary times, only about a third of the people wanted to leave the King’s rule – but their desire to retreat doesn’t invalidate my desire to fight. Even if I fight and lose, it might still have been the right decision, since they will never fight at all.

  3. Pingback: LIVE AT FIVE: 10.16.13 : The Other McCain

  4. Supposing none of your suppositions materialize, America nonetheless has been given a chance to learn something about the Tea Party.
    I suppose that is worth quite a few dollars.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.