QUOTE OF THE DAY…. Last week, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said talk of a possible government shutdown next year is “absurd,” and the very idea is little more than “the left” and “the media” attempting to “create an issue that doesn’t exist.”

With that in mind, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was asked yesterday about “the possibility of a government shutdown if Republicans get control of Congress.” He replied:

“Well, anything can happen.”

The comment comes less than a week after CNN pressed House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on the issue of a shutdown, and he refused to answer.

Remember, contra Gregg, this is an issue Republicans are taking very seriously. 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).

Earlier this month, 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.

We’re well past the point of “anything can happen,” and clearly in the realm of “what’s likely to happen.”

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.