Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Shutting Down the Democrats They Have More to Lose Than They Might Think

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Shutting Down the Democrats They Have More to Lose Than They Might Think

Article excerpt

This is the 18th time since 1977 the federal government has been "shut down," which suggests Democrats and journalists exaggerate the harm they do.

That's in part because "shutdowns" haven't lasted long -- from one to 21 days, an average of a little more than six.

The longest -- from Dec. 5, 1995 to Jan. 6, 1996 -- came when President Bill Clinton balked at GOP demands for a balanced budget. Mr. Clinton won the standoff, but after Republicans capitulated he did submit a balanced budget plan.

Democrats are so confident that this "shutdown" will end as that one did that they're refusing to negotiate with Republicans. But even if Republicans lose this battle, they're poised to win the war.

Few Americans are hurt by the "shutdown." All essential services go on. Checks go out for Social Security and other entitlement programs. To call this a "shutdown" is, said the Clinton Justice Department, "an entirely inaccurate description."

Mainly impacted are the roughly 800,000 (of 2.1 million) federal employees deemed "nonessential," who are put on unpaid leave. Democrats get much of their campaign funds from public employee unions, so don't expect Republicans to shed tears for furloughed workers.

In 1995, Republicans were beguiled by polls indicating Americans wanted spending cut and the budget balanced. But however much Americans want this in the abstract, their zeal fades rapidly when it means cuts in programs they like.

This "shutdown" is over Obamacare, which most Americans dislike.

Credit for the focus on Obamacare belongs to Sen. Ted Cruz, R- Texas, for the masterful 21-hour speech he delivered on the Senate floor week before last.

Sen. Cruz insisted then that Republicans shut down the government in what would have been a futile effort to defund Obamacare. That would have had catastrophic consequences for the GOP. But the silver- tongued Texan is now on board with the leadership's strategy of seeking a one-year delay.

By margins of 2 to 1 or greater, Americans oppose shutting down the government to defund Obamacare, three polls last week indicated. But they support, 55-35, GOP efforts to delay it, according to a poll this week. …

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