Before I proceed – in case you missed this: Obama’s doing pretty well in Wisconsin. Obama polled 51 % to Mitt’s 42 % among likely voters in the recent St. Norbert/WPR poll. Margin of error is plus or minus 5 percent.
The speech Mitt Romney delivered in West Allis, Wisconsin today is being called “the closing argument” by his campaign. I forced myself to listen to all 26 minutes of it. The video above is only a few seconds – don’t be shy. Click on it and hear his threat [which I found over at TPM].
To be fair, the threat is just a sliver of the whole. He also recites his 5-point plan and the usual business-delivers-dreams and Obamacare-is-bad messaging. He ignores the better numbers coming out on job growth and tells us if we stick with Obama we risk another recession. He also says what every new candidate on the block says: do you want more of the same or do you want my great new stuff?
But that threat of obstruction… It’s at about the 14:30 min. mark and goes to the 15:12 mark –
“You know that if the President is reelected he will still be unable to work with the people in Congress. I mean he’s ignored them, he’s attacked them, he’s blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up again. And shut down and default will be threatened chilling the economy. The President was right when he said he could not change Washington from the inside. In this case you can take him at his word.”
Benjy Sarlin over atTPM points out the irony thus:
“As his chief example, he pointed to a crisis created entirely by his own party’s choice — Republican lawmakers’ ongoing threat to reject a debt ceiling increase.”
-GOP obstructionism is now as common as a cold so Mitt feels fine tossing that clump of dirt into a campaign speech.
-We’ve experienced a federal government shutdown before – in the mid-90’s with Newt Gingrich leading the GOP charge – and we made it through.
This is not to say that I can predict the outcome of any given showdown now or to even say that everything came out smelling roses after that struggle. However I think it’s good to remember that for better or worse, we’ve gone through this and it hurt the GOP and it hurt the GOP’s former star obstructor, Gingrich.
Back in late 1995, our federal government did in fact shut down for 28 days – from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996.
Clinton’s ratings fell during those 28 days, but once the crisis was resolved they shot higher than they ever were since his election. While the entirety of the conflict is complicated, in the end the public blamed Gingrich for the debacle, Gingrich was dethroned from his spot as Speaker of the House, and the episode put a shadow over Bob Dole’s campaign and the GOP in 1996 (didn’t help that Dole had all the charisma of a zombie). If Gingrich were here, he’d counter that the Republicans retook the house again. But Gingrich became known as divisive, and as ABC noted “Never in more than a dozen ABC/Post polls from 1995 to 1998 did Gingrich’s approval rating exceed his disapproval.”
As you know Clinton and The Dems got the big kahuna: a 2nd presidential term.
Seeing the egomaniac Gingrich reborn as a GOP presidential candidate every 4 years is possible only because of the short memory of our fellow man (and woman). If the GOP wants to shut down the federal government again, or get near it, they’ll do so knowing that they will suffer a cost. They say elephants don’t forget so easy. Applies with the GOP elephants as well. They can’t forget what bit them in the ass this hard – even with the passage of time.
As long as we’ve walked down memory lane so far, I’ll leave you with something to sit with a spell that I’ve sort of kept in my back blogger pocket for at least a year.
This is just a tantalizing 3 minutes that frames the Gingrich-GOP vs. Clinton-Dems conflict. It’s from a full 3 1/2 hour special on Clinton from American Experience called “Clinton”.
Here’s the whole special, which I really enjoyed. If you want to pick up where the Gingrich conflict comes in, jump to 1:47 A.K.A. Chapter 13 in this.