I normally don’t like criticizing fellow conservatives, but if I don’t on occasion I’ll slowly morph into the kind of political hacks littering the streets and sulking in bars throughout Washington, DC. Once you fail to be able to see the faults in your ideological allies, it’s over. You start going to parties and bars with smarmy people (and enjoy it). You begin twisting yourself into intellectual knots to defend the indefensible. You become blind to the sad, sad, state of affairs the humans on The McLaughlin Group are in. Karl Rove (who apparently is a really nice guy, from what I’ve heard), must not be spared.
Is right now the time to be warning Republicans of the political fallout that might ensue as a result of a government shutdown? If you’re Karl Rove the pollster, yes. If you’re Karl Rove the American, no.
According to Gallup poll numbers posted by the former Bush aide, Clinton’s approval rating saw a nearly double-digit jump during the ’95 shutdown and went to steadily improve heading into the 1996 election. Rove writes that it was Clinton’s “confrontation” with Gingrich that boosted his numbers–an obvious implication that the GOP’s latest budget standoff could boost Obama.
“While the government shutdowns didn’t jeopardize Republicans’ hold on Congress, they helped President Clinton position himself for a successful 1996 reelection,” Rove writes. “President Obama’s ratings as a strong leader have slipped this year … Republicans should be careful not to let him recover as he gears up for his 2012 reelection campaign.”
Here’s a crazy idea – why don’t the Republicans simply do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may? Sometimes the honorable thing to do is to fall on your sword. If the Republicans in Congress do the right thing, make an articulate case to the American people as to why a shutdown happened, and they lose at the polls on election day — so what? Entitlement spending is the invisible tsunami of catastrophic debt that’s building momentum and set to crash land on our shores in the not-to-distant future. Trying to compare 1995 to 2011 is an exercise in futility.
- Bill Clinton is not Barack Obama.
- The Tea Party did not exist in 1995.
- Barack Obama would need a really long shutdown before any significant spike in his leadership ratings were to occur.
Karl Rove has a really big brain, so he should probably use this time to coach people behind the scenes on how to discuss the Debt Asteroid of Diarrhea about to slam into the country if we don’t do something about it now. It would be one thing if the conservative marching band went over the cliff with its flag held high over trifling matters. But that’s not where we’re at. Liberals need to know that play time is over. We either fight for the country now and get our fiscal house in order, or we play footsie and watch as unchecked liberalism destroys the nation without firing a single shot.
Republicans need a little Tyler Durden in them right now: “I want you to hit me as hard as you can.” Don’t be scared of the consequences–just get in there and fight. The Tea Party is our bridge. Let it take you to the other side.