Two recent examples of Republicants' irrational fear of government shutdowns revealed themselves to me in the last couple of days. The first was from Congressman Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, who used his fear of shutdowns as a reason to compromise his fiscal conservatism by lending his name and support to the budget he authored with Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. The second example was from Bill Bennett, host of Morning In America and former cabinet member for both Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Mr. Bennett proclaimed on his show that shutdowns of the Federal government are always blamed on Republicants, and subsequently hurt them politically.
Mr. Bennett and other modacans (my term for moderate Republicans) continue to make the error in judgment of accepting every premise that the Democrat party and the rest of the Left proffers as being gospel. The modacans have said for years that the Newt Gingrich-lead shutdown in 1995 was a political disaster for Republicants, simply because that was the narrative advanced by the Democrat party and the main stream media. The fact is that the 1995 shutdown forced President Clinton into a balanced budget and welfare reform, among other legislative victories for the people of the United States. And five years after the shutdown, George W. Bush was elected for his first of two terms as president. The political failures that Republicants have had since, have been because of their own unwillingness to stand on their principles like the Gingrich House did in '95.
The even more blatant example of Republicants snatching defeat from the jaws of shutdown victory, is the recent shutdown over de-funding ObamaCare. This was an example of an issue where the vast majority of Americans were behind the Republicants. But weak Republicant leadership in the House abandoned not only their prinicples, but the American people, by letting their fear of what the media was saying about them guide their decision to allow a Democrat victory. The American people were not angry at the Republicants for shutting down the federal government, but shutting down the backbone of their courage.
If one were to eliminate the issue of the shutdown from recent polling, and only asked respondents if they supported the Republicants position which pushed the Democrats to shutdown the government, the polling would show majority support for Republicants. The weak-kneed Republicants allowed themselves to be intimidated by the false narrative of the Left, and now use it as a reason to engage in more government spending through the Ryan/Murray budget. The reason that Paul Ryan and other Republicants voted yesterday to increase spending through the passage of the Ryan/Murray budget, and are still able to consider themselves conservatives, is easy. They look around a Washington that has become dominated by statists and Leftists of every stripe, and they see themselves as comparatively conservative. But an orange stick placed next to a white stick does not make it green simply by virtue of it not being white.
Forcing the Democrats into a partial shutdown of the federal government as a means to save the country from financial ruin is not simply a political parlor trick, but a moral imperative. There was a time when Republicants understood moral imperatives and exhibited clarity of constitutional purpose. But those days have been supplanted by fear, politics, and the worship of approval from a Washington power structure intoxicated by the ever-increasing influx of hard-earned taxpayer dollars.