GOP LEADERS GET AMNESIA OVER SHUTDOWN TALK…. How can you tell the prospect of a government shutdown is getting increasingly serious? The most obvious hint is the Republican effort to avoid blame.

YouTube video

Today, several Senate Democrats, including the entire leadership team, held a press conference to urge their Republican colleagues to do the right thing, and not shut down the government. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took the lead, but he and the other Dems were joined by economist Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody’s Analytics and a former advisor to John McCain’s presidential campaign.

Their collective message was straightforward: be responsible, let cooler heads prevail, and don’t shut down the government.

For their part, Republicans said a shut down can be avoided just so long as Dems give the GOP what it wants in the form of budget cuts.

“As Republicans focus on constructive ways for the two parties to work together on cutting spending and debt, Sen. Schumer seems strangely preoccupied with the notion of a government shutdown,” a spokesperson for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said. “It is our hope that he soon realizes the only person talking about a shutdown is Sen. Schumer.”

It’s hard to overstate how very wrong this is. Schumer isn’t the one who brought this up. Indeed, it was Mitch McConnell who, just a few days ago, appeared on national television and refused to take a government shutdown off the table.

More importantly, to argue that Dems and Schumer are “the only” ones “talking about a shutdown” is just laughably dishonest. The list of Republican lawmakers who’ve been threatening, almost welcoming, a government shutdown is fairly long, and keeps growing. It’s not as if Democrats just came up with this fear out of thin air.

One GOP senator described the possibility of a shutdown as “absolutely necessary.” Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said Republicans should be prepared to be “brave” in the face of a shutdown. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), insisted, “Listen, if it takes a shutdown of government to stop the runaway spending, we owe that to our children and our grandchildren.”

Two months before the midterms, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) attended disgraced GOP lobbyist Ralph Reed’s shindig, brought up shutting down the government, and was cheered. He replied, “That’s what I wanted to hear! A good clap for that!”

And don’t even get me started on the Republican activists and media figures who’ve spent a year celebrating the idea of a shutdown.

“The only person talking about a shutdown is Sen. Schumer”? I know some of these guys are paid to say nonsensical things like this, but people who take reality seriously should know better than to believe it.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

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.