The Real Reason that the GOP Will Shut Down the Government

Atrios argues that the Republicans really don’t care what happens if they shut down the government.  That seems to me to be looking through rose-colored glasses.

When the government shuts down, it means that public employees don’t get paid and will probably go through severe financial crises.  That’s advantage number one.  But more importantly, shutting down the government will screw up the economy.  Yes, the GOP might get blamed in the short run, but what if taking government spending out of the economy puts the kibosh on any nascent recovery and then gives us a triple-dip recession?

That’s even better!  It poses a real danger for President Obama’s re-election chances because voters will blame him for the terrible economy.  Let’s keep this straight: injuring the economy helps the Republicans politically and they know it.

It’s a feature, not a bug.

Comments

  1. Bruce Wilder says

    Voters will be right to blame Obama in the long run. He undersized the original stimulus and failed to prosecute either the former Bushies or the banksters; he has failed to enact a practical financial reform, failed to do anything to stem the waves of foreclosure, and he failed in his role as Democratic leader to have the last Congress enact this year’s budget, creating the opportunity for this silly drama (didn’t stop the extension of the “Bush Tax Cuts” which he supposedly opposed, though — funny how that worked). He expanded the War in Afganistan, and failed to cut Defense spending. He re-appointed Bush’s Fed Chairman. He sponsored the Catfood Commission to steal Social Security for more taxcuts for the uberrich.

    Most Democrats would have little difficulty rejecting his agenda setting and priorities, if they could bring themselves to acknowledge what it is.

    Both Parties are cooperating in an elaborate game of frightening the public and electorate about the Greater Evil of the other Party, to justify the enactment of a plutocratic and kleptocratic agenda, destructive of the general good. Both sides are claiming that the other is going to wreck the country, but the truth is, the two are cooperating in simultaneously wrecking the country and stabilizing the country just enough to keep the wrecking process underway.

  2. NCG says

    I’m not so sure. Every now and then it turns out people aren’t as dumb as the right thinks.

  3. KLG says

    Look, these are the people Obama has felt the need in his very bones to be bipartisan with. He thinks we want bipartisanship, which is bullsh*t. We want results, the “we” being those of us who voted him into the office. If he had not been such a bipartisan wuss and had lost due to GOPer intransigence he would now, this very minute, have an unassailable majority in both houses of Congress. He has been a fool. Anyone with half a brain and any political sense could see that. Or, on the other hand, he is just a liar. The bottom line is that it makes no difference in the end.

  4. koreyel says

    Bruce Wilder: Both Parties are cooperating in an elaborate game of frightening the public and electorate about the Greater Evil of the other Party, to justify the enactment of a plutocratic and kleptocratic agenda, destructive of the general good

    You ordered. Matt Taibbi delivered:
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/jefferson-county-alabama-screwed-by-wall-street-still-paying-20110407

    Now all you have to do is prove the bit about both Parties….

  5. Mark Kleiman says

    And of course messages like Bruce’s are music to Republican ears. If they can not only foul up the economy but get Democratic voters to blame it on Democratic office-holders, they’re in heaven. Good work, Bruce!

  6. NCG says

    Emotionally, I sympathize with Bruce. What makes me feel a little better is if I think of the president as a throwback to the now-extinct Northeast conservative. Not my first choice, but still better than anyone the GOP will put up.

    But of course it is time we started pushing back against this relentless rightward shift. Problem is, I don’t see a credible liberal alternative. Jerry Brown is too busy saving California. Nader, well, we’ve been down that road. Forget Kucinich. So what practical steps can we take to pull the president back to the left? The Wisconsin situation might end up being a blessing. But a candidate would be good. I can’t even think of anyone (maybe because it’s late).

  7. Dan Staley says

    I don’t really emotionally sympathize with Bruce. You can’t blame everything on BHO, just as you can’t blame everything on BushCo. Lots of complicity involved. The entire Democratic party is a pushover, with no sack. That is not BHO’s fault.

  8. Katja says

    I cannot say that I have been crazy about the Obama presidency. Jon Stewart’s assessment that he ran as a visionary and governed as a functionary strikes me exactly right.

    Nor can I say that I regret my vote for him. Not only am I generally suspicious of visionary reformers, so it’s not like I was getting something that I wasn’t expecting; but considering the alternative of a McCain/Palin presidency, I can’t say that I am experiencing buyer’s remorse. It is unfortunate that we have a political system that is really good at hamstringing the executive, but not so good in controlling it (in the “democratic accountability” sense of “control”), but it’s the only one we have; as a result, the only real remedy we have for fixing deficiencies in the executive is removing the president entirely in the next election.

    That said, I cannot agree with Bruce Wilder’s “a pox on both your houses” assessment of the current situation. It’s not that I consider the Democrats to be pure as driven snow; it’s that the fundamental problem I’m having with the Republican party is that it’s currently controlled by ideologues. Those familiar with Popper’s “Open Society and it’s Enemies” may find that his critique of Marxism is largely applicable, mutatis mutandis, to the current Republican party, especially when it comes to the utopian re-engineering of society. The problem here is that ideologues aren’t open to debate; they “know” that they’re right and they’re quite willing to have other people make sacrifices for their vision of the future because they honestly believe it’s for the greater good and accept a need to create considerable suffering towards that end.

    That’s different from the Democratic party; I have plenty of critical things to say about them, but in the end, they’re overall rational, and more importantly, controllable political actors. That’s not based on their political views; it’s more like how I can live fine with David Cameron as PM here in the UK, even though I hardly agree with his policies, but don’t have a lot of good things to say about Margaret Thatcher’s way of governing.

  9. Dan Staley says

    I think much of the country was so happy to get rid of the horrible BushCo regime that a toaster oven running for Prez would have been conferred messiah-like properties. That is what happened.

  10. KLG says

    From Steve Benen this morning:

    “DEMS GO EVEN FURTHER, AGREE TO $38 BILLION IN CUTS…. As of last night, the difference in proposed spend cuts between Democrats and Republicans was pretty tiny. At the White House meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he was prepared to approve $34 billion in cuts, while House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wanted $39 billion.”

    A car salesman could retire really young if he had a string of national Democrats coming through his showroom.

  11. says

    One big reason for blaming democrats is that, for many progressives, blaming the current actually-existing republican leadership is like blaming a rabid dog for biting, or a brain-injured killer for committing murder. If they could help themselves, they wouldn’t be in their positions. (Or, if you prefer the still-vaguely-a-moral-agent version, like blaming a mafioso for ordering a hit.)

  12. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says

    (Katja): “…the Republican party is … currently controlled by ideologues…
    “Ideological” is an uncomplimentary way to say “systematic” or “principled”. Antonyms include “scatterbrained” and “unscrupulous”.

    (Katja): “Those familiar with Popper’s “Open Society and it’s Enemies”…
    Great book. I liked his comment on teachers in the endnotes: “dictators in pocket edition”.

    (Katja): “…may find that his critique of Marxism is largely applicable, mutatis mutandis, to the current Republican party, especially when it comes to the utopian re-engineering of society. The problem here is that ideologues aren’t open to debate; they “know” that they’re right and they’re quite willing to have other people make sacrifices for their vision of the future because they honestly believe it’s for the greater good and accept a need to create considerable suffering towards that end.
    Thanks for the “honestly believe” part. Limited government, separation of powers, federalism, and markets institutionalize humility on the part of State actors. The government of a locality is the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in that locality. Every law on the books is a threat by a government to kidnap (arrest), assault (subdue), and to forcibly infect with HIV (imprison) someone, under some specified circumstances. Between “forbidden” and “compulsory” there’s room for “we think it’s a bad idea but we won’t stop you”, “suit yourself”, and “you really should but we won’t make you”. A society is free in direct proportion to the ratio of uncoerced to coerced activity. If we disagree on a matter of taste, numerous local policy regimes and competitive markets in goods and services allow for the expression of varied tastes, while the contest for control over a State-wide monopoly provider of a good or service must inevitably create unhappy losers (who may constitute the majority; what would be the outcome of a nationwide vote on the one size of shoes we all must wear?). If we disagree about a mater of fact, were “What works?” is an empirical question, numerous local policy regimes and competitive markets provide more information than will a State-monopoly enterprise. A State-monopoly enterprise is like an experiment with one treatment and no controls: a retarded experimental design.

  13. Bernard Yomtov says

    “Ideological” is an uncomplimentary way to say “systematic” or “principled”.

    Whether “principled” is a compliment or not depends on the principles in question. What’s admirable about sticking to foolish or evil principles?

  14. MobiusKlein says

    Not the ‘jail == HIV automatic’ thing again. Give that one a rest, unless you start working on prison reform.

  15. says

    (Bernard): “Whether ‘principled’ is a compliment or not depends on the principles in question.
    We agree, somewhat, although most of us will admire courage from enemy soldiers and self-sacrifice for a religious faith we do not share.
    (Bernard): “What’s admirable about sticking to foolish or evil principles?
    Nothing that I can see. Why anyone advocates State control of industry (including the education, health care, charity, and pension industries), given twentieth century history, is beyond me.
    (Moebius): “Not the ‘jail == HIV automatic’ thing again.
    Incarceration is a significant HIV risk factor.
    (Moebius): “Give that one a rest, unless you start working on prison reform.
    I’m working on reducing incarceration, that is, the scope of government.

  16. agorabum says

    Bruce: Totally mistaken.
    Compare the last Congress to this one: affordable health care act, house passed a cap and trade bill, house passed a stimulus (now reublicans are trying to pass cuts while there is still high unemployment), etc., etc.

    The two parties are night and day. The issue is Senators. The Senate in the prior 2 years was only as liberal as the 60th Senator (due to fillibusters). That was the choke point.
    If you had 65 liberal senators in the last congress, the democrats would have enacted far more programs.

    KLG: The problem is that the Democrats actually care about making sure the government runs well, that soldiers get paid, that parks stay open, etc. Republicans don’t care. Think less showrooms, more hostage negotiations. Republicans have the hostages. The Dems see they are totally willing to start shooting hostages, unless they get their way. The Dems really don’t want hostages to get shot. So they keep caving. Although there are a good 10-15% of the Dems that are pretty useless and do cause most of the headaches.

  17. MobiusKlein says

    Malcolm, people will go to jail, some deserved, some not.
    ALL of them should not get raped in jail.
    Those who rape in jail should be segregated from the rest of the inmate population.

    Anything else is evil. Thinking you are solving the problem by just putting fewer people in jail is a pipe dream.

  18. calling all toasters says

    Bernard: they certainly are a party of principle. The principle is “fuck you.” But why do you engage with the orally frothy troll? (and, no, that’s not a synonym for “superior being”)

  19. Kenneth Almquist says

    “One big reason for blaming democrats is that, for many progressives, blaming the current actually-existing republican leadership is like blaming a rabid dog for biting, or a brain-injured killer for committing murder.”

    Well, I totally disagree with this viewpoint. The Mafioso who orders a hit, or a Republican who tries to destroy the American economy in the hopes that this will improve Republican chances in 2012, suffer from a character flaw, not a brain injury. They are capable of deciding between right and wrong; they simply choose evil rather than good. In any case, blame isn’t really the issue. A rabid dog isn’t responsible for its actions, but that doesn’t mean that if you have a rabid dog going around biting people, you should ignore the problem. And the primary problem today, in my view, is the Republicans, not the Democrats.

  20. denim says

    I often wonder how many have shorted the market. There are tons of ETF’s to do that in effect. Also they literally sell gold as a hedge against their perceived coming financial dollar crash. Here a short, there a short, everywhere a short…

  21. James Wimberley says

    Combining NCG’s and Dan Staley’s takes on Barack Obama, there seems to be an emerging consensus that he is best seen as a Rockefeller toaster oven. (Maytag or Siemens, feel the quality.) Still, this beats the Republicans’ increasingly convincing imitation of the neurotic atomic bomb in John Varley’s short story Bagatelle:
    ” “I am a bomb,” the bomb said to passersby. “I will explode in four hours, five minutes, and seventeen seconds. I have a force equal to fifty thousand English tons of trinitrololuene.” ”
    (The link is to the actual text, go read.)

  22. says

    (Moebius): “Thinking you are solving the problem by just putting fewer people in jail is a pipe dream.
    Seems to me it’s the other way around. There are too many “r”s in “revolution”. Those of us who take caution as a principle (one reasonable definition of “conservative”) exalt incrementalism. It’s the delusional smokers of hallucinogens who dream of total(itarian), “final” solutions.

  23. Dan Staley says

    Combining NCG’s and Dan Staley’s takes on Barack Obama, there seems to be an emerging consensus that he is best seen as a Rockefeller toaster oven. (Maytag or Siemens, feel the quality.) Still, this beats the Republicans’ increasingly convincing imitation of the neurotic atomic bomb in John Varley’s short story Bagatelle

    Oooh! John Varley! Excellent reference.

    But I fail to see how that works to soothe here, James.

    I, long ago, gave up hoping for decent politicians at the national level. There are still many left at the local level who try to do a good job. By the time you get to the national level, IME, the soul has been sold.

    I had no hope for messiah-like change during the run-up to ’08, only a sad resignation that whoever got the job would be in a world of hurt; and when the winner was announced, I was fairly certain that a good amount of cloaked, disguised racist or resentment-filled campaign of vitriol would ensue. Anyway, not to belabor the obvious, but I don’t have the dashed hopes of some on this board, as I would have been happy with a toaster oven in the Oval Office. As that would be – at a minimum – 647,348 times better than the previous occupant. So let us not project our disappointment on a typical politician. We can project our disappointment on the rigid tactics, the too-many calculations, the flat dumb attempts at bipartisanship with these low-rent clowns, the endless capitulation to these cheap, low-quality bullies and their credulous, gullible cheerleaders.

    But failed hopes and dreams for a resurgent Progressive wave? Come now.

  24. says

    (Toaster): “Bernard: they certainly are a party of principle. The principle is ‘fuck you.’ But why do you engage with the orally frothy troll? (and, no, that’s not a synonym for ‘superior being)”.
    It’s superior to “strident, foul-mouthed partisan”.