Politico reports that House Republicans are determined to shut down the government in order to force President Obama to “finally cut spending” by the end of March:
GOP officials said more than half of their members are prepared to allow default unless Obama agrees to dramatic cuts he has repeatedly said he opposes. Many more members, including some party leaders, are prepared to shut down the government to make their point. House Speaker John Boehner “may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,” said a top GOP leadership adviser. “We might need to do that for member-management purposes — so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.”
Obama, of course, has already cut spending by nearly $2 trillion over the past couple of years, and the upcoming sequestration cuts would cut spending even more. So there’s no “finally” about it. It’s been happening all along, but Republicans have somehow mesmerized the press into never actually saying this.
Aside from that, I wouldn’t take any of this too seriously. “GOP officials,” in this story, are obviously just spinning to make it sound like they don’t have any choice and Obama should just cave now in order to placate the crazy people. It’s probably good negotiating strategy, but that’s all it is.
And frankly, I’m not sure it’s even that. I mean, is it really a good idea to suggest that the Republican Party intends to shut down the government for “member-management purposes”? If that starts to percolate upward into the kind of news coverage that ordinary people watch, it probably won’t make the GOP look all that great, will it?
Bottom line: (1) Spending has already been cut substantially. (2) Short-term spending shouldn’t be cut anymore because the economy is still fragile. (3) Long-term spending needs to be addressed, but it’s nowhere near as apocalyptic as Republicans like to make it sound. I wonder when the press will start reporting that?