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Monday, November 8, 2010

Will Democrats Shut Down The Government?

That seems to be the question the media does not want to ask.  Instead, it all is about whether Republicans have taken a government shut down, or at least a refusal to lift the debt ceiling, off the table.

This meme has it backwards.

The Republicans in the House will pass a budget which extends the current marginal tax rates and contains budget cuts, and will vote to lift the debt ceiling in conjunction with such budget.  The Republicans in the Senate will vote for such legislation.

It will be up to Democrats in the Senate to reject the legislation which would prevent a shut down of government or a default.

And if, by some long-shot, the measures made their way through the Senate, it would be up to Obama to veto the legislation.

There will be no Republican decision to shut the government or default on debt.  It will be a Democratic Party decision, taken out of ideological commitment to raising taxes and refusing to rein in spending.

Update:  Thanks to Instapundit for the link.  I think Glenn had it right this weekend that Republicans need to frame the issues so as to provide clarity.  The government "shut down" issue is a good example.  Republicans need to be clear that Republicans are not shutting down anything; rather, it is the Democrats who are holding the nation hostage to tax increases.

Democrats are playing a game of chicken with the budget and debt, but now that Repubicans have the House, Repubicans get to frame the debate -- if they do it right.  The mainstream media will accept the Democratic narrative, so clarity is key.

And, Jim DeMint seemed to signal what I am saying (emphasis mine):
Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, was asked Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" whether he would vote to raise the debt ceiling, and said, "No, I won't."

"Not unless this debt ceiling is combined with some path to balancing our budget, returning to 2008 spending levels, repealing Obamacare. We have got to demonstrate that we have the resolve to cut spending … we cannot allow that to go through the Congress without showing the American people that we are going to balance the budget, and we're not going to continue to raise the debt in America," he said.
I'm not sure how John Boehner's decision to hold a stand-alone up or down vote on the debt ceiling fits into this narrative.

Related Posts:
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Why Are Democrats Holding Louisiana Hostage?

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  1. Some of the Republicans are promising to reduce spending to 2008 levels. I really hope they do it! And if the Democrats react by shutting down the government, so much the better. We all remember what happened to the Republicans when they were blamed for shutting down the government during the Clinton administration.

  2. That fact that we didn't have a budget before the elections is very telling.

    There are a number of pundits in the land of unicorns and rainbows who think raising the debt ceiling is a good idea. I'd love to see their personal balance sheets.

  3. Democrats think they can pull off 1995 again, where the Republicans were blamed for the government shutdown. The differences are, of course, that the Democrats do not own either the media any longer or all the alternative news channels on the internet.

    Furthermore, after spending trillions on useless pork (and calling it stimulus), the citizens are unlikely to accept this meme.

  4. For the taxpayers a government shut down is feature not a bug. Hopefully the government will shut down for a month. When the sky doesn't fall and the earth still keeps spinning on it's axis the mystique of government will disappear. Afterwards in the next budget the republicans ought to cut government salaries and pensions by one month and the same to those collecting 'entitlements'.

  5. Here is the Repubs chance to "frame" the conversation. I have my doubts, but hope springs eternal...

  6. Cubanbob: That isn't what happened with public opinion in 1994 and won't be what happens this time either... It'll be a problem that needs to be managed, and perception that Democrat obstruction to fiscal sanity is the cause of it will be a critical factor in how 2012 goes down.

  7. Isn't Boehner's approach a different path to the same destination?

    Either the Dem's reject the proposed ceiling - bringing government to a halt.

    Or they the vote in favor of the new debt ceiling, but fail to go along with the votes needed to bring the budget in line with the new limit - bringing government to a halt.

    Either way, it is Democrat intransigence over reigning in runaway debt that would result in government shut down.

  8. The debt ceiling will be raised just like it did every time it was up to be raised from 1994-2006 when Republicans controlled Congress. The consequences of not raising it are pretty globally catastrophic and no party wants to go down in history as the party responsible for that.

    The bigger question is: why propose legislation that has no chance of passing, simply to say "we tried and they blocked us", when it was obviously never realistic to pass in the first place? If that's Boehner's strategy, it will be a long and boring 2 years.

  9. Nice spin job, but it didn't work in 1994 and it's not going to work now, for the same reason. It's fairly easy to put together a 30 second commercial showing members of the Republican leadership openly talking about shutting down the Federal government-- someone will put those together and start running TV spots if such begins to be the case. It will be difficult for the GOP to dodge their own words replayed over and over again.

  10. I'd be happy to "shut the government down", but I don't receive social security, medicare, medicaid, etc.

    When those who are expecting to receive checks don't, all hell will break loose, and guess which party will be blamed, regardless of the truth of the matter?

    The Republicans will have to be uncharacteristically politically savvy in a budget confrontation.

  11. "why propose legislation that has no chance of passing, simply to say 'we tried and they blocked us', when it was obviously never realistic to pass in the first place?"

    Because the only legislation that is "realistic" to pass is that which comes from handing Pelosi and Reid a blank sheet of paper and saying "Go to town, you crazy kids!"

  12. "I'm not sure how John Boehner's decision to hold a stand-alone up or down vote on the debt ceiling fits into this narrative."

    It doesn't.

    I'm a Dem/lib/lefty/Green/prog and I don't like Boehner one teensy weensy little bit. But he's a legislator and one of no small experience. And he knows two things: 1) Naive nitwit freshmen legislators and grass-roots activists of both parties always think a debt limit bill is a powerful lever for advancing other agenda items; 2) Those naive nitwits and grass-roots activists are always wrong. Boehner knows he just has to pass it, clean and quick, and get on to other business.

    The idea that's it's Pelosi with a dilemma is mind-bogglingly wrong. Why on EARTH would she do John Boehner's dirty work for him by passing a debt limit bill that it is now his responsibility to pass?

  13. ThomasD:

    Huh? Read the story on Boehner. He's offering a clean debt-limit bill. That means tying it in with the Budget, etc. is NOT his plan.

  14. I don't want 2008 spending levels. Heck, 1908 is more like it. Every item in the budget needs to be justified as both necessary and a federal requirement under the Constitution.

  15. I work for the man.

    As long as there is money (or pretend money) in the account, the social security checks will keep coming out and the food stamps will still work. Don't worry.
    However, if the government is shut down, then during that time no new people will be added to the rolls, but they will get their benefit retroactively when the gov comes back online and we process their claims.

    The last time the government was shut down was before I was employed, but iirc everyone got paid for the time off. Nice deal, I could use a vacation!

  16. Hilarious. Republicans sure know how to lie, mislead and twist the facts around, and that;s about all they're good at doing. It will be the republicans fault and ONLY the republicans fault for shutting down government. What's even funnier is it will mostly affect the republican voters who's social security checks won't be delivered thanks to Boner and the crybaby republicans in the house.