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March 30, 2011 08:54 PM UTC

Government Shutdown: "That's What the Tea Party is For!"

  • 59 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: House Republicans are apparently refusing to discuss a measure that would prevent members of congress from taking a salary in the event of a government shutdown. Why? Well, because they need paychecks, as MSNBC’s First Read reports:

As freshman Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) told constituents last week: “I guarantee most of you, I have more debt than all of you. With six kids, I still pay off my student loans. I still pay my mortgage. I drive a used minivan. If you think I’m living high off the hog, I’ve got one paycheck. So I struggle to meet my bills right now.”

To recap, Republicans in the House believe they should continue to receive a salary if the government shuts down, in which case tens of thousands of government workers will not get paid because Congress didn’t do its job. Yup. That ought to sell well.

—–

We’re about 9 days away from the expiration of the current “Continuing Resolution” in Congress that funds the federal government. After several extensions, Republicans have been hinting that they won’t agree to another extension and will risk a government shutdown. Our friends at “The Fix” contemplate who wins or loses politically if there is indeed a shutdown, including some odd comments from the right:

Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean said Tuesday he would be “quietly rooting for” a shutdown if he was still at the helm of the DNC. “I know who’s going to get blamed – we’ve been down this road before,” Dean added in a reference to the 1995 government shutdown.

Meanwhile South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R), a leader of the tea party movement in Congress, offered up a warning to his own party about the dangers of shying away from a shutdown in an interview with National Review; “I just hope that we are not so afraid of a government shutdown that we are not willing to make the right decisions,” he said. “That is what the tea party is for.”

Uh, what? Sen. Jim DeMint seems to be pretty eager to put the Tea Party in front of a shutdown bus, but as we’ve outlined before, the vast majority of voters don’t actually want the massive cuts that Tea Party-types have proposed. Perhaps its no coincidence, then, that despite the bluster Congressional Republicans have been quietly trying to seek a deal with Democrats on the budget rather than risk putting all their chips in the center of the table on a government shutdown — a move which was disastrous for Republicans when then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich led the way in 1995.

Comments

59 thoughts on “Government Shutdown: “That’s What the Tea Party is For!”

  1. the deal they’re quietly seeking seems to be to keep letting Dems offer more while sitting tight with the excuse that they can’t offer any concessions on their side because of the Tea Party.  And the Tea Party isn’t at all happy with 100% of the GOP’s starting bargaining position anyway. Dems pretty much asking for nothing but the opportunity to be the ones making all the significant concessions.

    Could be one of those rare lose/lose/lose situations with Dems and Rs both looking weak and cowed and Tea Partiers showing their more on the fence fans that they aren’t good for doing anything but getting mad about stuff and have no plans besides being against stuff.

    On the other hand, what if, come 2012, normal, sane voters are so disgusted they stay home in record numbers? Guess that might be a win for the Tea Party loons,  giving their minority hard core wackos more power, a bigger chunk of a smaller turn out. So maybe lose/lose/win a little?

        1. no guarantees it’ll work however LOL!

          Make you a deal: as soon as he ends his deeply misguided airborne foray into Lib-yuh, I’ll revert to calling him by that other name. Okay?

          1. With a loud PWEHT I reject your false presentation.

            Replace “state line” with “stinking yellow green puddle on ostrich pen floor”. That should make almost everyone take “state line” more seriously.

          2. I, however, feel that an American can respectfully address his or her President even when fervently disagreeing with the President’s actions. My grandparents and parents lived through Nixon and Reagan without resorting to schoolyard name-calling to describe their President. If they can do that, those of us politically active today can address President Barack Obama by his name and title.

              1. But I support his office more than I support the man in it. President Barack Obama does and say a lot of things that upset me. I voted for him, I’ll vote for him and volunteer for him again, but mostly for the same reason  as the first time–he’s the smartest person who is still dumb enough to take the job. My real favorite is Mike Gravel, though I’m sure if he’d made it (in a very strange parallel universe where totally unelectable candidates win) I’d have found fault with him, too.

                But that’s really the point. Every man, woman, robot, or houseplant who has ever held that office or will ever hold it in the future will be a fallible human being. The office will endure beyond their tenure. It deserves your respect, even if the office holder wouldn’t if you met him on the street after he left office.

                1. Forgive me, Cowgirl, but that’s bullshit. This country was founded on the rights of individual citizens to disrespect their rulers, to question their government, and, yes, to call politicians by funny names.  

                  1. There’s also a little bit of a difference between a despotic monarch and a President who is a little bit too moderate for some.

                    Defend to the death your right to say it and all, but I’ll still shake my online finger at you if you choose to. It’s juvenile and disrespectful to an institution much greater than any single individual. We talked here recently about the trend toward outrageous disrespect toward public servants; I think that applies to the top of the ladder, too. If we all stand around the water cooler calling the highest office holder in the country silly names, is it any surprise that we end up indulging in the same disrespect toward teachers and firefighters, too?

                    There is this prevailing attitude that public servants (elected or not) are not just answerable to the people but the property of the people, and that we can and should treat them much more poorly than we would treat any other class of human being. It’s creepy, childish, and it’s contributing to some very unfortunate political trends. I would like nastiness and name-calling to be less acceptable.

                    Note that, while our forefathers fought and died for the right to free speech, very few of them made a habit of speaking in a crude and unpleasant manner. They were eloquent speakers, and when they did need to insult someone, they seem to have prided themselves on constructing insults that were biting and witty, not petty.

              1. But as far as I know, the standard “Bunch of crooks, the lot of ’em!” was the closest thing. Which, in his ninth decade, is still my grandfather’s general opinion of Washington.

    1. Lose: sane Repubs, incumbents and newcomers alike, nationally and in the states, for a couple of election cycles.

      Lose: national incumbent Tea Baggers in 2012, except from pure red states.

      Lose: national Dem incumbents in 2012, except from pure blue states.

      Lose big-time: Dems, especially in 2012, nationally and statewide, who betray progressive base. (Listening, Hick?)

      Lose: any Repub 2012 candidate for President.

      Win big-time: Tea Baggers in 2012 primaries and caucuses nationwide.

      Win: nationally and in the states, for several election cycles, Dems who act like Dems. (Listening Mark and Michael?)

      Win: Obama in 2012, even though he’s betrayed his progressive base and doesn’t act like a Dem. He’s not perceived to be part of the Washington deadlock.

      1. I tend to think Obomber cannot HELP but be perceived as part of DC’s ongoing deadlock/gridlock.

        Notice in today’s Quinipiac poll Obomber’s disapproval #s are tied with that of the Tea Party (47/48%). He’s upside down with Independents (37% approve, 51% disapprove), and 50% of all respondents feel he doesn’t merit reelection.

        One of the main mantras of Obomber’s campaign was that he was going to alchemically change the noxious environment in Washington.

        Yet the whole yearlong healthcare debate was EVEN WORSE in its two-party rancor. Yeah, he got it done kinda sorta, but it was a VERY ugly baby – both in policy and process. Left a lot of people (not only progressives) with a very sour aftertaste – Dems suffered across-the-board at the polls as a result.

        If:

        – the economy still sucks a year from now, particularly with continuing high unemployment (seems likely);

        – we’re still deep in the weeds in Afghanistan, and Lib-yuh too. (Carville said it best the other day, “As a country I think we’re feeling kind of “war’ed out” around here.”);

        – it appears that Obomber is no more serious about tackling our federal debt + deficit than any other recent President;

        – and the partisan toxicity is still as bad as when Obomber rode into town (it feels far worse to me now)…..

        then it’s highly likely he’ll be perceived as part of the problem. On the maxim that if you lie down with dogs you wake up with fleas….

        The best thing Obomber has going for him 19 months out is the incredibly lame & convoluted Republican field to-date. Mitch Daniels could pose a real problem for him – if the ‘pubs are smart enough to nominate him.

          1. used over and over like that, especially in a post that’s mostly about the economy. And I say that as a rabid defender of anyone’s right to call any elected official silly names.

          2. Not so sure about your last point…….

            I tend to think O cannot HELP but be perceived as part of DC’s ongoing deadlock/gridlock.

            Notice in today’s Quinipiac poll O’s disapproval #s are tied with that of the Tea Party (47/48%). He’s upside down with Independents (37% approve, 51% disapprove), and 50% of all respondents feel he doesn’t merit reelection.

            One of the main mantras of O’s campaign was that he was going to alchemically change the noxious environment in Washington.

            Yet the whole yearlong healthcare debate was EVEN WORSE in its two-party rancor. Yeah, he got it done kinda sorta, but it was a VERY ugly baby – both in policy and process. Left a lot of people (not only progressives) with a very sour aftertaste – Dems suffered across-the-board at the polls as a result.

            If:

            – the economy still sucks a year from now, particularly with continuing high unemployment (seems likely);

            – we’re still deep in the weeds in Afghanistan, and Lib-yuh too. (Carville said it best the other day, “As a country I think we’re feeling kind of “war’ed out” around here.”);

            – it appears that O is no more serious about tackling our federal debt + deficit than any other recent President;

            – and the partisan toxicity is still as bad as when O rode into town (it feels far worse to me now)…..

            then it’s highly likely he’ll be perceived as part of the problem. On the maxim that if you lie down with dogs you wake up with fleas….

            The best thing O has going for him 19 months out is the incredibly lame & convoluted Republican field to-date. Mitch Daniels could pose a real problem for him – if the ‘pubs are smart enough to nominate him.

            1. I disagree with your assertions.

              For your polling data that you cite, it is useless. This far out, reelection polling is meaningless. Unfortunately for the Republican party, they can’t nominate “Republican” to run for president, as he doesn’t meat the qualifications. In addition, any Republican presidential candidate has to face the tea party gauntlet in the primaries, who if they want to appease they will have to lean rightward, maybe even further than independent voters can stomach.

              As for Mitch Daniels, we’ll see what Republican Primary Mitch Daniels looks like. The tea party demands red meat, not vague hints and promises.

              1. DO give a pretty good idea of how the American electorate feels about his Oval Office ‘leadership’ more than halfway through his term.

                Your point about possible Republican challengers is in line with my own, it doesn’t refute it.  

                Say what you will about Daniels – and there is plenty for a Democrat to criticize – he at least has the virtues of:

                a) public sector executive experience;

                b) having balanced a budget.

                Neither of which Obomber had when he ran for Prez.  

      2. .

        Hope and change ?

        It was a campaign based on

        “yeah, I’ve never accomplished anything in my life except promote myself,

        but if you will just give me this one chance,

        I will make magical progress toward utopia.”

        Here’s the real list of what he’s accomplished:

        1.  DADT repeal;

        2.  Obamacare.

        For the left wingnuts here (that somehow think they’re moderates,) that’s enough.  

        But for everyone on the continuum from “Progressive” to “John Birch Society,” 98% of the country,

        it’s not.

        Obomber won’t even seek renomination.  Word.

        .

        1. Grew up poor in a single-parent household.

          Harvard law.

          Constitutional Law Prof at University of Chicago.

          Elected State Senator, U.S. Senator, POTUS.

          The Recovery Act,

          Health care reform,

          Education reform,

          Financial regulatory reform,

          Nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia.

          “yeah, I’ve never accomplished anything in my life except promote myself”

        2. …which includes putting an ADULT in charge of the Va, who spends his time trying to fix all the broken shit, as opposed to that waste of space Nicolson, who spent his time fund-raising.

          And there’s the part in getting the VA funded to a point that it actually attempts to take care of the wounded from OIF and OEF, and all the other past wars. This includes getting the VA budget approved a year in advance, which now means it’s not held hostage in the political process every year.

          But most importantly, SOMEONE, be it a former Vietnam combat officer and disabled Vet (Shinskei) or maybe even the CiC himself, has gotten the VA to change their attitude toward the vets they take care of. I’ll take that over everything else…

  2. I like the idea that the Federal Government shuts down and stops spending, especially to avoid the debt ceiling (which should NOT be increased)

    That said – a shutdown is a shutdown – no compassion for your Rep Duffy – if you’re gonna talk the talk, then walk it, dude – no salary for you!

    (Republican crybabies!)

      1. I take exception, on the basis of my spending over a year volunteering as a Public School Tyro-Teacher in Los Angeles – certainly, it’s not equivalent to slaughtering elks and giving away the meat, but I think it’s a pretty solid demonstration of how much I love our good country

        Secondly Patti – I politely suggest reading up on the policies in Congress, as Social Security is a mandatory expense, not an ‘appropriation’

        http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/2

        Third Patti – fiscal health is important for everyone – are we really supposed to let any administration hold social security recipients hostage, in exchange for more debt? That is WRONG and if they truly cared about those who need help, they would cut the spending that’s creeping us toward the ceiling, rather than raise it

        But lastly – careful on using the word “heartless” without analysis of the facts

        1. Try swapping your mental image of your own wealthy parents with an image of other people their age who have worked hard all their lives but still have to choose between food and medicine.

          Volunteering isn’t the same as living the same life.  A volunteer can always go home at night.

          I love you, Ali.  Your heart is often in the right place with regard to the First Amendment.  However, on other issues, you simply don’t get it.  That’s not your fault; you have led a privileged life.

          1. And it is way to easy to dismiss my community service

            Your point is that I grew up rich, thus, I’m forever out of touch

            My point is that, I spent a year and a half walking through the biggest barrios of Los Angeles, doing my best to teach on a daily basis – the proudest experience of my life

            The best part were the children, who wanted to live the American dream

            The biggest heartbreak was the parental involvement (or lack of, in my school at least) – majority of those children had either no parents or were missing a parent (with that one-parent tirelessly working away at a job to support too many) due to death or jail – which is why I have been a consistent advocate of removing 3 Strikes Laws and reforming the drug penalties, even when I was a GOPer

            You can disagree with my opinion, but to say that my opinion is based on ignorance, and not a simple rationale point of disagreement, is wrong based on my experience

            If I’m still sheltered, even after teaching in LAUSD, then I’m curious what experience would qualify me to be “unsheltered” in your books, Ralphie

            My opinion? You’re too easily pinning the wealth-tail on this proud donkey… and it ain’t sticking (not when you consider my history of advocacy above)

            1. Rent a flat above a shop,

              cut your hair and get a job.

              Smoke some fags and play some pool,

              pretend you never went to school.

              But still you’ll never get it right,

              cos when you’re laid in bed at night,

              watching roaches climb the wall,

              if you call your Dad he could stop it all.

              I respect what you did as a volunteer, and I say this without trying to insult you, but that situation was always temporary for you. It doesn’t give you insight into what it’s like to end up in a situation when you are living on whatever job you can find in a crappy economy, and the only way your kids eat well is because of food stamps. I don’t think you’ll ever really know what that’s like, no matter what you do.

              Similarly I’ll never really understand what it’s like to be a Muslim or a racial minority or a woman or someone who finds math difficult, as much as I may try to empathize in any particular situation.

              1. With all due respect, let’s say I was AGAINST the shutdown, on the basis of theorized “compassion”

                And if so, would that opinion excuse me from the cross-examination having to deal with family wealth? Would I also be lauded as someone who can sympathize with the plight of those who struggle? Because if the answer is “yes” to any of those questions, then your statement of my being “out of touch” is intellectually dishonest

                As I said before – my work in the Los Angeles barrios is a prime force for what has shaped my political thoughts – thoughts so strong, that some of it greatly cost me the entrance onto the GOP primary ballot for State Treasurer, back at the GOP Convention (NOTE: no regrets – I’m thankful for how it worked out) – some delegates told me that they refused to consider me, on the basis of my wanting to revoke three strikes laws and recommend major reforms towards reducing penalties on drug laws – such views were not welcome by many Republican delegates, but despite that, my political ambition never trumped my amalgamated convictions that were birthed in those Los Angeles barrios

                After all – how could I even consider bending on these convictions, after what I had seen in Los Angeles? The State Treasury nomination be damned, if that was the case – I refused to bend

                And I refused to bend, based on what I observed, which ultimately, became a conviction

                With all that in mind – I think that is a strong demonstration of a man who is ‘in touch’ – my convictions have been tested (HD56 race in 2008 and State Treasurer in 2010) and I have never wavered, whether it was gays, immigrants, education or criminal laws – granted, I lost both races, but I don’t know many politicians who can say “I didn’t bend”

                I am in touch – that’s a crown I keep proudly

                1. I didn’t call you “out of touch”; those may have been someone else’s words. But I dispute the notion that you really know what it’s like for people at the economic bottom.

                  If your view is that a government shutdown is a good thing and that anyone who gets hurt by it will probably end up OK anyway, that’s a position which suggests you don’t really sympathize much with the people at the bottom. But sympathizing with them is different from really understanding them or being one of them.

                  I think you could change your position to be more sympathetic with the people who would be affected, but even if you did I don’t think you could ever legitimately claim to know what it’s like to have lived in the barrios all your life, or to be on government assistance and really need it.

                  I think it sucks that Muslims are called terrorist-sympathizers and that some people even say Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to hold government office. I sympathize with Muslims who face discrimination. But I could never really say what it’s like to live with that perception, get insulted by peers for my religious beliefs, or face prejudice when I tried to get a job. And so if I claim that this or that policy is good for Muslims, and I say so based on working with Muslim groups on this or that project, it still doesn’t confer legitimacy to my view, and I still have to defend it if actual Muslims say it’s a bad idea. I could never speak for that group, no matter what I did with them.

        1. .

          Back into a recession ?

          R U not paying attention ?

          This is not the business cycle you learned about in college.  With globalisation came structural change.  

          the current ~20% unemployment is the new normal, going forward.  It really doesn’t matter if the banksters and Westchester County Masters of the Universe have recovered, the country hasn’t, and won’t.  Ever.  

          We need leaders who can take us through this transition, but we got leaders who are still pretending that they can kick that can down the road 4 more years.  Makes me pine for James Earl.  

          .

          1. We have certain categories of people with high unemployment. But for the rest, the employment levels are fine. Our biggest problem at my company is finding qualified people for new openings.

            If most voters are ok, then this will be accepted as the new normal. And that will be horrible for the 20% left behind.

    1. (although the newly eligible wouldn’t  be unable to apply for their benefits, which could cause significant hardship.)

      And yes, Ali, let’s NOT increase the federal debt ceiling, what a GREAT idea!

      Forget about a meltdown in Japan, that would cause a bond market meltdown of the first magnitude as the U.S, defaults on its sovereign debt for the first time ever.

      Yeah, that’s a really first-rate idea Ali…..

      1. …once the debt ceiling goes up, it ain’t coming back down

        We were fed a bag of lies with TARP and the result?

        The economy is in shambles, loans aren’t getting much better, the system has way too many more regulations, no one went to jail, and worst of all, the Federal Reserve is now giving three times to the bailout banks what TARP gave them

        Washington DC, with its policies (like the one being debated) is borrowing its way out of a cataclysmic recession and enabling that borrowing only makes it worse – here’s my solution –

        Cut spending – cut taxes – and restore trust in our economy (and our creditors) by putting Bailout villains in jail (the way Reagan did to felonious junk bond traders)

        Ultimately, I want the best for America and raising the debt ceiling is not what’s best  

        1. loans to the US? You want major inflation and ultimately deflation in US? I was right you are heartless. If milk goes to 6 dollars a gallon it won’t affect you, but children on the bottom will be severely hurt.

          Raising taxes on the upper 2% and slashing military spending would reknit our safety net.  

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