Republicans fret not, today’s shutdown is far different than 1996’s
Fear not the shutdown, Republicans in Congress! You are the supposedly conservative alternative in politics and we are currently $16 trillion in the hole. The least you can do is stop spending so much money everyday to keep the vile beast going. Also, as the supposedly conservative alternative, you should be thrilled that all the “non-essential” bureaucrats have been sent home while our military remains at post.
For most of us innocent taxpayers, this suits us just fine. The only people who should be scared are the big-government enthusiasts when the vast majority of Americans realize they didn’t even notice the monstrous federal government had shut down and that they really don’t need all of this nonsense that hurls us deeper and deeper into an abyss of debt with every passing week.
Yet being slippery politicians, Republican leaders in Congress cannot help but worry about the political fallout. They clutch their pearls and wrench their undergarments and fret over how badly Republicans lost the “blame game” the last time the federal government shut down in 1996. But today is a whole different deal. In January 1996, federal taxpayers were on the hook for $4.9 trillion, a paltry sum compared to the drunk spending binge these lizards have been on since then. They have more than tripled the national debt since the last shutdown.
To visualize the difference, consider a man who porks up to 300 pounds. It is probably time to go on a diet.
But today, the federal government has metastasized into a 950-pounder who is so obese he cannot get out of bed. You have to call the fire department and take out a wall to have him removed. His rotting bed sores have welded his skin to the bedsheets.
A little light dieting is no longer in order. It is now a full-blown acute crisis.
Another difference is that the media is vastly more diverse today than it was a decade and a half ago. To hear all the mainstream press slather blame on Republicans today is a haunting reminder of how the whole thing got blamed on Republicans last time. But that was before the explosion of conservative media and unbiased reporting on the Internet.
The last time the federal government shut down, the Drudge Report was still but a twinkle in Bill Clinton’s eye. Just a twitch in his pants.
It was during that time when “nonessentials” were sent home that Bubba met Monica Lewinsky. And soon after, Mr. Clinton met the insurgency of nonmainstream media.
Also different today is that in 1996 Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress, so it really was a showdown between Republicans in Congress and a Democrat in the White House. Today, it is not even clear that Republicans control the House. But they certainly don’t control the Senate. Currently, Democrats in Washington are at least two-thirds to blame for all this mess.
This is not to say that Republicans should take all this lightly. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is very cagey at shamelessly blaming others for his own messes.
Perhaps Republicans could learn a lesson from Sen. Ted Cruz. Despite the complete failure of his half-baked “strategy” to defund Obamacare, the Texas Republican did a fine job of standing up and unashamedly making his case to the American people.
Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @charleshurt.