Ed Driscoll

Time to Party Like It's 1995?

“Schumer: GOP puts Congress on course for inevitable government shutdown,” The Hill reports:

A top Senate Democrat warned Sunday that Congress is on course for an inevitable government shutdown.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats won’t accept the steep spending cuts proposed by House Republicans through September. Furthermore, Senate Democrats will resist the GOP’s insistence that even a short-term budget fix must include significant cuts – an ultimatum articulated last week by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Schumer said the Democrats “already agreed” to steep cuts in December, and are ready to fight to keep spending at least at current levels.”Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner seems to be on a course that would inevitably lead to a shutdown,” Schumer said Sunday morning on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That’s reckless … and I hope he’d reconsider.”

But as Mark Hemingway writes at the Weekly Standard, “After Wisconsin, How Do Democrats Argue Against a GOP Government Shutdown?”

The obvious point here is that if it’s so “reckless” to shutdown the government, why have Wisconsin legislators, the President and the DNC all supported the government shutdown in Wisconsin? Not only that, they have shutdown the government by fleeing the state and breaking the law, not to mention the illegal union strikes shutting down schools and national Democrats helping to organize the angry mob descending on Madison.

Conventional wisdom in the Beltway  has it that a government shutdown would be bad for Republicans, just as it was the last time it happened in 1995, when Former GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich took on Clinton over the budget. However, Michael Barone recently made the point that it may not have been that bad — Republicans only lost 9 seats in 1996 after the historic gains in 1994. (True, Clinton won in 1996 but Bob Dole’s candidacy was never much competition.)

Add to that the greater severity of our current budget woes, and it’s obvious that it’s not 1995 again. As Hemingway concludes, “Causing a government shutdown may still be a risky gambit for Republicans, but it will be very hard for Democrats to make the case against it with any moral authority and stir up voter sympathy.”

Related: Roger Kimball on the “Watershed Moment in Wisconsin.” Meanwhile, Scott Williams of the Green Bay Press-Gazette tweets, “Breaking: Green Bay Democratic Sen. Dave Hansen: Democrats opposing Gov. Walker will not return to Madison on Monday.”

No word yet if they’ll be back on Tuesday, which isn’t a federal and state holiday.