Friday, November 19, 2010

Will they shut it down?

Grover Norquist is practically lusting over a potential Republican government shutdown. Chait points out an important difference between now and 1995-96:
If Republicans refuse to let the government continue running at current levels while they negotiate with Obama, then they are indeed the ones who are shutting down the government. But as a matter of political reality, it's true that the existence of Fox News and the power of other Republican organs gives the GOP a better chance to spin a shutdown as Obama's fault -- or, at least, to lose the battle for public opinion less decisively. Norquist is also right that Boehner is not acting like, and being treated as, a kind of prime minister, and that factor would also reduce the degree to which Republicans are held accountable for outcomes like the shutdown.
My view is that it's going to be pretty hard to blame Obama for a government shutdown when some of your most influential activists are already cheering one on so forcefully. And if, as Norquist suggests, Republicans try to shut down the government over the debt ceiling, he really is drinking his own Kool-Aid, er, tea, since Americans don't really care about the deficit but will not stomach grandma not being able to cash a Social Security check. Then again, you never know. Spin can only go so far, but this isn't 1995, and it's certainly something to keep an eye on.

I'm not sure this quite fits with the post, but it's Friday, so I think a little Talking Heads is perfectly warranted:

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.