It’s deja vu all over again. A Democratic president comes to Washington, runs up against rabid hostility from the GOP, and faces serious trouble in his first midterm elections. Sound familiar yet? It gets better. Some Republicans are openly advocating shutting down the government as part of a gambit to gut the health care reform bill passed earlier this year.
Joe Miller, Alaska’s Republican candidate for Senate and tea party favorite, said in an interview that he wants to quash health care reform and other “socialist aspects of government,” such as Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements. Fairbanks’ Daily News-Miner said that “Miller went on to say that Congress should have the ‘courage to shut down the government,’ if necessary, to eliminate government programs.”
RedState.com blogger Erick Erickson sounded like a kid on Christmas Eve when he tweeted Aug. 30 that he’s “giddy” and “cannot wait” for the government shutdown. And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — who engineered the last government shutdowns and is now trying to pretend that it didn’t backfire and ensure Bill Clinton’s re-election — has been pushing for a shutdown for months.
According to Time, the 1995 shutdowns (the second of which bled into 1996) cost the government $800 million in salaries repaid to furloughed employees when all was said and done. Which doesn’t sound like a good deal for the nation budget-wise, when you get right down to it. But given conservatives’ open hostility this year towards all things federal, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that a shutdown threat is rearing its head.