Quote of the Day

QUOTE OF THE DAY…. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who remains an influential figure in Republican politics, chatted with a far-right news website yesterday, and characterized newly-elected conservatives hoping to shut down the government next year “a little naive.”

“First of all, you can’t shut down the government. There are public safety, national security issues, that override a well-intended point, I’m sure, that government is way too big. Better to have a plan on how you reduce the debt by reducing the deficit.”

Jeb isn’t the only one making comments like these. Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently 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.”

What I like about this is the notion of prominent conservative Republicans characterizing a shutdown as unreasonable and extreme. With upcoming votes on the debt limit and the federal budget, and clamoring among GOP extremists to force a shutdown, public remarks that position a shutdown as beyond the pale help create an incentive for Republicans to avoid one.

And at this point, if GOP leaders hope to avoid a Gingrich replay, they’re going to have to overcome some pretty intense conservative pressure — from hard-liners inside Congress and out — from rabid right-wing ideologues who’ve been told the party shouldn’t compromise on anything with anyone.

With this in mind, keep Jeb Bush’s quote handy.

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Steve Benen

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.