NORQUIST THINKS THE GOP WILL WIN FROM ANOTHER SHUTDOWN…. In August, sleazy GOP consultant Dick Morris told a far-right group that in the next Congress, Republicans should do exactly as Gingrich/Dole did 15 years ago, but this time it’ll work out better.
“There’s going to be a government shutdown, just like in ’95 and ’96 but we’re going to win it this time and I’ll be fightin’ on your side,” Morris boasted.
Grover Norquist is giving his party the same advice.
The head of the influential Americans for Tax Reform is encouraging the new House Republican majority to adopt a take-no-prisoners approach to federal spending — and if that leads to a 1995-style government shutdown, so be it.
Midterm voters “were voting to stop the Obama spendathon, and that’s what people were sent to Washington to do,” Norquist said in an interview.
These guys seriously believe that the public would credit Republicans for shutting down the government. Some even think Republicans ended up benefiting from the ’95 and ’96 efforts.
Going forward, there are two main angles to keep an eye on. The first is whether Republican leaders are crazy enough to think this is a good idea. There’s some evidence that GOP officials consider the Gingrich shutdowns to be a mistake — one they don’t intend to repeat. Just this week, Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said shutting down the government would be “a mistake,” adding, “Nobody really wants that.” Similarly, incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was recently asked if we’re likely to see a replay of 1995. “No. I don’t think the country needs or wants a shutdown,” Cantor said. He added that when it comes to pursuing their agenda, Republicans “have to be careful” or they’ll be “seen as a bunch of yahoos.”
The other is whether Republican leaders are going to have much of a choice. The party has told its base that it will not compromise on anything with anyone. It has a legion of freshman joining the ranks on the Hill, and nearly all are rabid right-wing ideologues, who expect Boehner, Cantor, et al, to wage a fierce, partisan war.
Politico noted that Boehner was a Gingrich loyalist in ’95, and “people close to him today say he has scant interest in reliving that fight.”
Whether the incoming Speaker has the ability to lead his caucus away from that cliff remains to be seen. Norquist and his ilk will surely be making ridiculous demands, and making of the rank-and-file members of the caucus will find those calls compelling.
I hope Republican leaders like the monster they created.