A LIKELY SCENARIO IN 2011…. It’s hard to say with confidence which party will hold the congressional majority next year, but Paul Krugman noted yesterday that “fake scandals” will be all the rage in the 112th Congress if there’s a Republican majority.
[W]e’ll be having hearings over accusations of corruption on the part of Michelle Obama’s hairdresser, janitors at the Treasury, and Larry Summers’s doctor’s dog. If you don’t believe me, you weren’t paying attention during the Clinton years; remember, we had months of hearings over claims that something was fishy in the White House travel office (nothing was).
This may sound hyperbolic. It’s not. In the Clinton era, House Republicans held two weeks of hearings investigating the Clintons’ Christmas card list, and the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform fired a bullet into a “head-like object” — reportedly a melon — in his backyard to test his conspiracy theories about Vince Foster. All told, over the last six years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, that same committee unilaterally issued 1,052 subpoenas — that’s not a typo — to investigate baseless allegations of misconduct. That translates to an average of a politically-inspired subpoena every other day for six consecutive years, including weekends, holidays, and congressional recesses.
It would almost certainly be worse in 2011 and 2012. Indeed, the man positioned to lead the committee — reformed alleged car thief Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) — has already said he’s inclined to leave “corporate America” alone, so he can attack the White House relentlessly.
For that matter, let’s also not forget that some Republicans, including two members of Congress, have raised the specter of presidential impeachment once there’s a GOP majority.
But Krugman also flagged this item from John Quiggin, reflecting on another likely scenario in the event of a GOP House majority.
What surprises me is that no-one has drawn the obvious inference as to what will follow, namely a shutdown of the US government.
It seems obvious to me that a shutdown will happen — the Republicans of today are both more extreme and more disciplined than last time they were in a position to shut down the government, and they did it then. And they hate Obama at least as much now as they hated Clinton in 1995.
Agreed. John Boehner (R-Ohio) has already made some noises about refusing to fund health care programs, and given the party’s desperation to please its right-wing base, it stands to reason Republicans would gladly shut down the government as a means towards obstructing the agenda approved in 2009 and 2010.
If I were laying odds, I’d say the chances of a prolonged government shutdown next year are well over 50% — if there’s a Republican majority, that is.