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April 06, 2011 6:02 pm MST

Government Shutdown Looming: Who Gets the Blame?

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Sen. Michael Bennet yesterday tore into his colleagues over a potential government shutdown. Bennet says people in Colorado are saying, “We hired you to do a job — work it out!”


CNN reports on the latest in the Congressional budget negotiations:

Key Democrats rejected a Republican proposal Tuesday to keep the government running for one more week at the cost of an additional $12 billion in cuts. Republicans, meanwhile, dismissed Democrats’ insistence that there had been an agreement to cut $33 billion for the rest of the fiscal year, which expires on September 30.

If there is no deal by midnight Friday, when the current spending authorization measure expires, parts of the government will close down.

The infamous 1995 government shutdown was a political death blow to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his Republican caucus that hurt them at the polls for years. But who would get the blame if the government shuts down on Friday?

Cast your vote after the jump. As always with our polls, we want to know what you think will happen, not your opinion. If there is a government shutdown, which Party do you think will take most of the blame?

Who Will Get the Majority of the Blame in a Government Shutdown?

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89 thoughts on “Government Shutdown Looming: Who Gets the Blame?

  1. My bet is there won’t be a shutdown.  An agreement will be reached, either this week or after another continuing resolution is passed.  So, move along, nothing to see here.  

    Let’s focus instead on Paul Ryan’s plan to screw the middle class.

    1. Sorry there’s a shut down, elderly/poor, but we have to stop your basic services being shut down permanently.

      Oh, that won’t work. See Ralphie’s comment above.

      These issues, imo, are the same. There’s no “look over there!” with the budget anymore. Everything or nothing is relevant. Ignore the possible shutdown, ignore Ryan, same difference. If I get to pick which to ignore, it’s sure as hell the lunatic we (Dems) won’t use against anyone anyway.

      1. they’ll still be in harms way and offering to give up their lives but just know that the TeaBaggers pushing the GOP will

        U.S. military troops in Iraq/Afghanistan/? would get 1-week’s pay instead of 2 if GOP shuts it down (according to a senior defense official).

        Military can’t be paid during a funding lapse until a new appropriations bill or continuing resolution is passed by Congress.

        The funding bill expires Apr 8 (middle of the troop’s 2-week pay period) so soldiers get stiff for the first week of the pay period.  

        And they so love our troops.  Way to Go GOP!

        1. Scott Tipton posted on Facebook earlier today that soldiers would continue to get paid.  Do you have a link for the Pentagon official’s comment?

          1. This is a stark contrast to 1995, when military personnel continued to work and were paid. The official says unless Congress and the president specifically reach agreement otherwise, “some troops who expect a paycheck might not get it on time.” The official says troops would receive back pay when funding is restored.

            The official says the Pentagon is actively planning for contingencies, but “we’ll know a lot more in the next 24 hours,” when the president and congressional leaders meet to discuss the budget impasse.

            “The fact that our armed forces, including troops in combat, would not be paid during a government shutdown underscores the seriousness of this issue. That’s one of the many reasons the House has done its work and passed a funding bill for the remainder of the year,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.


            Kind of sounds like Boehner knows and is already playing it, doesn’t it? #thisiswhydemskindofsuck

  2. Republicans have not. Jobs and the economy are still foremost on people’s minds and picking a fight over byzantine budget issues can’t help Republicans. They are heading down a very slippery slope. As for Obama, he needs to channel his Jeb Bartlett (see link below.)

    1. It’s “Jed” not Jeb.

      And better than that moment is the moment the President resolves the shutdown when he owns the Speaker.

      Boehner will fail – and then the President needs to fix it.  If it means Speaker Cantor (or Bachman) so be it.

        1. Might as well put all the chips on the table.

          The TP is a vehicle to express anger. They’re just a bunch of spoiled brats who want their candy but don’t want to do their chores. Put Bachman in charge and they’ll spontaneously combust (electorally anyway).

          Republicans will have a hard time fixing the damage caused by the TP. So many moderates left during the Bush era that the TP controls the party. Those moderates are unlikely to return to the fold. They’re no longer welcome.  

          1. The Repubs might do better to give their party up now, wait for the train wreck, and pick up the pieces starting in 2014. If moderate Republicans joined progressive Democrats and Independents, we could bury the Tea Party in one fell swoop in 2012.

            Ne’er to return.

  3. Is there any way to blame Bill Ritter?

    Or perhaps H-Man and GOP Warrior?

    Really – it’s the tea party.  

    I recently had a close encounter of the tea party kind.  It started as a general discussion of the school voucer program in Douglas County* and slid into a full on discussion of the tea party and why they were so good for America. Or not.

    The problem with the tea party isn’t that they are racist, birther, right wing nut jobs.  The problem is they have virtually no information.  At one point I asked why did President Reagan increase taxes and, more importantly, did it work?.   Thank god for the intertube. (Well, thank DARPA and the US COngress for funding them.)

    We spent the next 30 minutes arguing about whether Reagan even did increase tax rates (he did) and what would count as an acceptable source: the wikipedia,, Krugman, CNN, Forbes, MediaMatters, etc.

    We agreed to stipulate temporarily that Reagan did ask for and sign the largest tax increase in US history based on the sheer volume of sources indicating it was true. She agreed to stipulate (temporarily – because in her heart she knows it just can’t be true.) in order to argue that even if it did happen, clearly it didn’t help because we’ve had “out of control deficits ever since.”    My passing mention of the last balanced budget from the Clinton era drew the obligatory “thanks to the Republican Congress) but no acknowledgement that we have not had out of control deficits ever since. No understanding that, in fact, the painful deficit of the modern era started with debt financing of the Viet Nam war, and the inability of Congress to cut spending (because the voters don’t get excited about spending cuts) and the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush era. None.

    *She thinks the DCSD vouchers are great and even better because they are state funded, not locally funded, and result in net new revenue to the Douglas County District. Like everyone else I’ve talked to from DCSD, she could not explain how DCSD’s Oct 1 census will include kids who are not enrolled in a DCSD school.

    1. and you’re definitely the better informed, rational, and reasoned debater but it just doesn’t hold up against willful myopic  ignorance.

      Teabaggers are just stinking onions with layers upon layers of brainwashed ignorance.  As you peel the layers away that hate & bigotry & ignorance just gets more concentrated and raw.  That dark vacuous core essence is revealed when she admitted facts but only “temporarily –  because in her heart she knows it just can’t be true.”  

      How do we defeat IGNORANCE by choice?


        1. That’s exactly how the battle on finally repealing the Bush tax cuts should have been framed.  Failing to have done that, I’m afraid the Republican demands for budget cuts are pretty much a foregone conclusion to the prior capitulation.  Sometimes mathematics is a real bitch.

          “For the want of a nail . . .”

    2. “No understanding that, in fact, the painful deficit of the modern era started with… the inability of Congress to cut spending (because the voters don’t get excited about spending cuts)”

      That is precisely what the Tea Party understands and aims to rectify. And they do realize it started under Bush.

        1. refuse to believe either that taxes on the top bracket under Reagan were much higher than under Clinton, Bush or Obama or that the deficit ballooned under good old St. Reagan only to be brought down under Clinton.  How could that be?  Reagan is the trickle down, hate your government, conservative saint.  It doesn’t compute. Help! Melt down! I know my HD38 Rep, the pea brained Conti woman, flat out refused to believe that could be possibly be true. How could up be down and down be up? How can the universe make sense if that’s true?  I helpfully sent her a couple of links but never heard back. For all I know she may still be speechless.  

      1. And it started with Nixon and the D congress who refused to raise taxes to pay for Viet Nam.

        In the long history of war, debt financed war has only one of three consequences.  We didn’t collapse, nor did we pay it. Instead we got the big inflation and ballooning deficit.  (and insanely high interest rates.)  

        President Reagan cut a weapons  deal with the Ayatollah of Iran and then illegally sent the money to secret accounts to illegally fund US support in the Nicaraguan civil war.  

        When the Reagan tax cuts didn’t produce increased revenue, Reagan raised taxes because “it was good for America.”

        When his VP, former CIA director Bush, promised no new taxes, it was specifically to address what calls “the sad legacy of Reagan.”  Meanwhile, deficits were growing faster than they ever had.

        Of course, when President Bush attempted to emulate Reagan for the good of the country the GO(T)P abandoned his re-election.    And Ross Perot opened the door for President Clinton  – who worked with the R Congress to balance the budget.

        President Bush Jr flushed that down the toilet. Lacking the opportunity for a secret  weapons deal that could help (as far as we know) he started beating the drum to invade Iraq about 15 minutes after the inauguration.  Unable to cut funding (and unwilling to cut off the no bid contracts for Halliburton and the rest of the Bush/Cheney support team) the deficits ran away but ideologically blinded to the idocy of tax cuts Гјber alles – at the same time the banks were over leveraging the banking segment into a sure liquidity crisis.  When the banks collapsed, TARP and a banking sector led recession.

        TARP worked – and was necessary- but banking led  recessions are always painful. And so President Obama need a stimulus bll – which also worked. It should have been bigger.

        And now we need to get serious about deficit reduction at all levels of gov’t – municipal, state, and federal.  “Serious” means bottom up and top down reviews of spending and revenue.

        Anyone who says we can responsibly get the deficit under control by only spending cuts, esp “across the board spending” cuts, isn’t serious.  We’ve got to examine revenue and spending. Seriously.

        1. TARP worked… but I’m surprised that you’re in favor of corporate bailouts. Rather offensive to the rest of us. Bad business models should fail or be restructured under chapter 11. Yes, we do need to get serious about deficit reduction. If Dems were serious, they would have proposed a serious budget. (Obama’s doesn’t count, he admitted it wasn’t serious.) Why don’t you guys proposed a budget with some tax hikes? Then at least you’d have a starting point to negotiate with the GOP on reducing the deficit. As it is Dems are just playing politics with it. Both spending cuts and tax hikes can look bad politically, but only the GOP has the courage to talk about their method of balancing the budget.

          1. Neither party is serious about deficit reduction.  Some individuals are or have been in the past – Senator Michael Bennet, President Reagan, Senator Everett Dirkson, and others.

            But as long as you take whatever opportunity available to bash D’s or President Obama, you are not serious.

            1. As I keep trying to explain, that is the reason the Tea Party exists. Michael Bennet, after his close shave in the last election, is sounding a lot like a Tea Partier. Reagan definitely was. I bash D’s and Obama because out of all of the big spenders they have been the most egregious, and, if you hadn’t noticed, are currently in power.

              1. Find me a single teabagger with the courage and sense of duty to accept even a one-cent-per-year tax increase to eliminate the deficit, and then you can start comparing yourselves to Reagan.

                  1. Drawing down troops in Iraq and turning the reins over to local security forces will save many times that amount over the next few years.

                    If that’s not good enough for you, Dennis Kucinich. I may not think he’s the bee’s knees, but you didn’t ask for a Democrat I’d vote for, just a Democrat. He’d end all wars of occupation and the Drug War ($40 billion annually there alone, though about half is from state budgets).  


            I’m not generally in favor of gov’t intervention to save companies.

            But I am in favor of defending the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. ANd if the banking sector had been allowed to collapse, it would have threatened the USA.

            I know you call yourself a “student of history” and despite my skepticism about that, let’s try.

            Who owns the Federal Reserve Bank of the US?

            hint: it is not a part of the US government.

            What is the equivalent entity in England? Japan? China? Brazil? S. Korea?  India?

            How much money does FHA lend for mortgages?

            At the peak, how much money did Fannie Mae (FNMA) or Freddie Mac (FHLC) lend for mortgages?

            Who owns CitiCorp?

            Who owns JPMorganChaseWashingtonMutual?

            Who owns Lehman? Goldman Sachs? AIG?

            Should any of these entities or agencies be regulated or restricted?

            Where does the regulatory authority come from regulate any of these entities or agencies?

            Which entrepreneur invented the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation?   Has it worked?

            1. Suddenly it’s Dems that are starting wars and bailing out the rich on the backs of the poor. Kind of hard for them to keep a straight face after everything they said about Bush.

  4. and other Midwestern states and the stunning anti-democratic and dictatorial over reach of their Governors, polls show shift away from Rs there and elsewhere, especially in Florida where people seem shocked (should have known) to find they elected a criminal who makes no bones about viewing the Florida government as a racket with himself as the boss.  So I think, if there is a shut down, Republicans will get more of the blame but just by a hair.

    As Ralphie says, with a more aggressive message effort Obama and the Dems could now be in a much stronger position with Rs really taking the beating. As it is, it will be little better than a draw but that little bit should be in Dem’s favor.

  5. I think the GOP will get most of the blame. But unlike 1995, the Democrats won’t do so well either.

    Clinton was able to bash the Republicans because they were in charge of both houses of Congress back then. It’s harder for Obama to blame the House but exonerate the Senate.

    I think you have to look at it with more granularity. In particular, what are the Senate seats up for election in 2012, and how might this affect them? And how will this affect particular Republican House members who aren’t in safe seats?

    After all, a Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) or the like could vote to do away permanently with the federal government and he’d probably still get re-elected.

    1.  You just can’t change some districts. Tancredo could have broiled and eaten a Boy Scout on the Capitol steps and he would still have won in CD6.

  6. How about the party that stood up and applauded when they talked of a government shut down?

    I know.. it’s silly to think that the people who are in favor of something should get the credit when it happens.  

      1. Its an honor 😉

        Back to messaging…it pisses me off to no end how poor we are at messaging. It struck me tonight watching Chris Christie being interviewed by Sawyer, and he’s a charismatic fellow, that  behind the charm is nothing more than a piggish buffoon. Hes that working class type that ‘tells it like it is’. Now whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter because the average middle class voter put him in office and likes him. And that’s our problem. We don’t ‘tell it like it is’. Middle america doesn’t relate to us anymore because  we’re too nice,cerebral, whatever. The repubs aren’t afraid to call names, say outrageous things, scream yell, be crude. I’m not saying we have to get nasty but we need to get mean. Mean is relateable. we need to start calling bullshit at the stunts they pull instead of writing flowery op-eds. we need more cowbell! Less Harry Reid and more Anthony Weiner.

        We need ads saying ‘government shutdown means our soldiers fight penniless’ (clip of baggers applauding) the republican plan will end healthcare for senior citizens (clip of me-party applauding) conservatives don’t want to give families opportunities to better themselves (more assplause) they want billionaire foriegn owned corporations to have more rights, pay less, and criminal immunity ( more jerkplause) they want more women to die from cancer because it fits their moral narrative and insurance CEOs can buy more yachts which is their idea of economic stimulus (standing do’hvation)

        What I’m  saying is we need to stop being pussies and start being Wieners!!

  7. Our awkward little baby Senator is all grown up! It seems like just yesterday he couldn’t get through a speech at his own campaign events without stuttering, throwing in a heaping handful of “ums” and “uhs,” and adjusting his sleeves so often you’d think he was modeling, not campaigning.

    Just look at him now!

    Boy, Romanoff may not have been my favorite person during that primary, but he sure pushed Bennet to get sharp and get there fast. Whoever gave him public speaking lessons, I hope (and assume) they were paid handsomely for it–VERY well deserved!

    1. He didn’t always show it, but anyone who wanted to could see it.

      I love this guy…exactly the kind of person I want to elect to represent me and my neighbors.

      Obama ’12

    2. He had his points and he articulated each of them.

      Or we could have had Kenny Boy Buck leading the charge to shutdown the damn gumnit.  God Bless the voters of Colorado.

    3. a good fit for Colorado. Having met him a few times (just at events, not trying to say he’s someone I really know) I always felt that he was sincere about his views,  would do his best to be a good senator for us and that his best would be pretty darn good.

  8. Stop Medicare and social security payments. A large chunk of the ea batters are on both and the second they lose their own government handouts – they’ll instantly be demanding the government be fully funded.

    1. No member of Congress gets paid during the shutdown. And the only way they can get retroactive payments is to give every gov’t employee who as involuntarily furloughed 125% of back pay. Not themselves,just the NPS firefighter.  Et and so on.

  9. The Dems will get the blame in the news cycle because conservatives and tea partiers are loud and like to say outlandish crap that gets their sound-bites replayed on the news.

  10. Bennet’s sounding like a Tea Partier to me. Everybody needs to sacrifice some, neither party has all the answers, we just want people to work together to balance the budget, etc. Pols, take note.  

    1. What was your position on extending the tax cuts? You weren’t around on this site since I guess you were kind of embarrassed by the whole Buck loss, so I understand you not weighing in earlier, but now’s your chance.

      I’m prepared to wait until you can find an intellectually consistent position. The countdown starts…now.

      1. But history shows that in general tax cuts have increased revenue by increasing economic activity. I think Paul Ryan’s budget has the right approach – it lowers the top corporate tax rate but actually closes tax loopholes so that many companies who get away with paying no taxes have to pay their fair share.

        1. Bzzzzzzzt! Wrong.


          hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha  Seriously?

          ….history shows that in general tax cuts have increased revenue by increasing economic activity.

          No, history doesn’t show that.

          Reagan cut taxes – deficit went up, revenue went down.

          Reagan raised taxes, deficit went down, revenue went up.

          Bush raised taxes – , deficit went down, revenue went up.

          Clinton raised taxes – , deficit went down, revenue went up.

          Bush cut taxes – deficit went up, revenue went down.

          Obama cut taxes – deficit went up, revenue went down.

          The Paul Ryan budget kills Medicare and Medicaid.  talk about death panels…anyone could balance the budget by killing the elderly and the poor.  

          And you didn’t answer the question.

        2. Show me where tax cuts increased revenue. Real data, not some hypothetical Laffer Curve.

          My guess is that you’re too young to recall “Voodoo economics” in its original context.

                1. If his own fucking people don’t take him seriously, why should we?

                  I demand that BJ answer this question.

                  And if he doesn’t, he can take whatever I have to offer him, which I guarantee won’t give him a pleasant day.

                  Answer the fucking question, Beej.

                  Or would you rather have me ask your committee to ask you what you’re doing in your spare time?  If you’re not the same guy who was running for your county chair, then the question won’t get asked.

                  So, beej, answer my fucking question.  Because the default of “no answer” means a lot of questions will be asked about you, even if they don’t need to be.

                  1. …Dude I hate beej as much as the next guy or gal, but I would like to politely suggest that you not go any farther in the direction you’re headed. We lost Laughing Boy to this kind of thing. Pols should not become a place where you have to “cool your shit online” to keep people from harassing you outside of the Internet. It would be completely inappropriate for you to contact the Republican party and attempt to use them to punish Beej for annoying you online.

                    Please don’t become that guy. I think you’re kind of a jackass sometimes, but I enjoy debating with you and I think you’re better than this kind of tactic. You can beat Beej on logic any day. You don’t need to resort to bullying.

  11. Republicans will.

    Dems are rejecting bills that would continue to keep the government running to allow for more negotiations and have not produce an actual budget plan like Paul Ryan has.

    Republicans will because the media will skew it there is no denying this and Obama will blame it on republicans and the nation will believe him blindly.

    1. You do know that the President already proposed an actual budget plan weeks ago, right? You’re not just making things up, right?

      No? Oh well. By the way, how did you feel about extending the tax cuts a few months ago? When you fail to answer, it’ll make three Republicans on the site who can’t reconcile tax cuts with deficit-cutting.

  12. The republicans have been on a winning streak for two years by putting roadblocks in front of democrats.  Why would they stop now?  republicans are not dumb.

    Dems don’t know what hit them….they are still playing charlie brown to the repubs’ lucy…

    Let me tell you how the repubs benefit:

    1) They sponsored a bill which says that the military will get paid…the dems are stalling…obama doesn’t want it.  If the gov shuts down and the military does not get paid…..Obama takes the blame.

    2) A shut down,even for a few days, stalls the improving economy…..repubs win.

    3) Most people are not going to see an immediate difference when the gov shuts down…..repubs win.

    4) repubs start an ambitious plan to “sell” and “out source” gov institutions….national parks, museums….”We can’t afford them”  repubs win.

    5) repubs have successfully convinced the public that the problem with the gigiantic recession was gov debt caused over paying federal workers….punishing the federal work force makes sense….

    Tell me how the repubs lose?  

    As you know, I think 100-125 hours or more of radio time per week indoctrinating the repub agenda works….

    Already…the promos are

    “Will Harry Reid and the Democrats shut down the government?

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