GREGG BLAMES THE LEFT FOR REPUBLICANS’ SHUTDOWN TALK…. I sometimes get the sense Republican senators don’t pay attention to current events.

Worries that a Republican-led Congress would lead a shutdown of the government similar to the one carried out in 1995 are “absurd,” Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said Tuesday.

Asked on CNBC’s “Kudlow Report” what the prospects are of a government shutdown should the GOP take the majority in the midterms, the retiring senator said, “It’s absurd. And I think this is just the left trying — you know, the media trying to create an issue that doesn’t exist.”

“The left” and “the media” aren’t the ones who brought this up, Judd. It was the Republicans’ idea.

Indeed, the issue “exists” because the GOP keeps talking about this. Recent talk of a government shutdown has been pushed by a House Republican leader (Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia); a Republican Senate candidate (Joe Miller of Alaska); a Republican House candidate (Teresa Collett of Minnesota); and a variety of prominent Republican voices (Newt Gingrich, Dick Morris, and Erick Erickson).

Last week, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) even demanded this his party’s leadership sign a “blood oath” that they will gut America’s health care system, even if the effort leads to a government shutdown.

Gregg thinks talk of a shutdown is “absurd,” and I hope he’s right. But rather than blame “the left” and “the media” for an argument raised by Republicans, maybe Gregg should spend some time urging his own party to take it down a notch.

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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.