DHS Shutdown? What Could Go Wrong?

Ten days from the expiration of temporary funding for the Department of Homeland Security, congressional Republicans seem to be drifting towards a departmental shutdown. In case you were wondering, it won’t go over very well, according to a new poll:

Republicans in Congress would shoulder the blame for a shutdown at the Department of Homeland Security if they are unable to enact a new spending bill to keep the agency running, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. The survey finds 53% of Americans would blame the Republicans in Congress if the department must shut down, while 30% would blame President Barack Obama. Another 13% say both deserve the blame.

That 30% probably blames Obama for bad winter weather, so he’s on relatively safe ground here. As for Republicans, some don’t give a damn about public opinion (outside their bright-red districts, at least), some have convinced themselves that shutting down the whole damn government worked out all right for them just over a year ago, and some are simply prisoners of their own rhetoric and prejudices. In any event, adverse polling data alone won’t pull them back from the brink.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.