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.

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.