HOUSE REPUBLICAN READIES BASE FOR GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN…. I keep writing about the likelihood of Republicans shutting down the government — if they win a congressional majority — because they really are serious about this.

Consider this report from Dave Weigel, covering disgraced GOP lobbyist Ralph Reed’s shindig in Washington today:

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) addressed the Faith & Freedom Conference with a hook you’re hearing more and more often. He reminded the crowd that after Republicans won Congress in 1994, they forced a fight over the budget with President Clinton.

“The government shut down,” said Westmoreland — and the crowd started cheering. “That’s what I wanted to hear! A good clap for that!”

According to Westmoreland, if they won a House majority Republicans were going to be “ready to hold the line and get those courageous men and woman” in the new class to stand fast and shut down the government.

The right-wing Georgia congressman said, after the shutdown the government, Americans will say things like, “Daddy can’t go to the VA, the national parks are closed.” But, Westmoreland added, just so long as far-right activists stand with Republicans during the shutdown, the GOP will “hold the line” and fare better than the last time the party pulled this stunt.

And today’s extremist crowd signaled their intention to do just that.

I can only assume the public isn’t quite prepared for what a Republican majority would actually mean for our system of government.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.