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Today, in the midst of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, more Obama fecklessness and dithering on the continued threat of ISIS, and the usual late-summer distractions, there is rising chatter (inspired by the White House and its allies) that we’re rushing headlong into another Shutdown Spasm.
I’ve warned you about this before; just don’t do it. I don’t care what the pretense is; don’t do it.
This time, they’re hoping to lure us into a trap just weeks before the 2014 elections. The only people who will benefit from letting the White House, Reid, and Pelosi get away with this shutdown silliness are… the White House, Reid, and Pelosi. The various email hucksters on both sides will fill their coffers with lavish promises of either doom or destiny, but if Republicans believe a shutdown will yield a scintilla of political benefit, they’re drinking too early in the day.
As usual, it’s not because I’m afraid we will lose the legislative fight. That’s inevitable. No matter how much chest-beating you do, Harry Reid has a gun to our heads in the Senate and he’ll whip his people with the ferocity he usually reserves for his other victims. It’s because it’s going to give the Democrats a massive political advantage in the elections.
If I put on my “Imagine I’m A Democratic Strategist Hat” for a moment, here’s a half-dozen things I’d do the minute Republicans walk into the trap. Remember, it doesn’t matter if the things they say are true. It matters that they’ll say them:
- Every endangered Red State Democrat goes on air with an ad saying, “Although [Republican opponent X] now wants to shut down the government in order to cancel your Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ benefits, I’ll fight to make Washington take care of people first. I don’t always agree with Barack Obama, but I’ll never put your benefits at risk.”
- I’d turn Washington into a circus, demanding the Senate return in order to eat up the time, attention, and bandwidth of Republican Senators running for re-election, and give Democratic senators an excuse to change the dialogue by saying, “I know you hate me for Obamacare, immigration, and every other way I suck up to this President, but I’m here to save Social Security from the Evil Republican Cabal.”
- Direct mail will fill the mailboxes of seniors (who still read it) from the Democrats with big, scary, official-looking envelopes saying things like “SOCIAL SECURITY CANCELLATION NOTICE” and “MEDICARE BENEFITS FREEZE.” Behold, the Gray Wave screaming bloody murder into every Congressional district office.
- The day we shut down the government, the Democrats will be able to effectively nationalize the campaign, running not so much against their Republican opponents (where they might lose) but against the Republican strawmen in D.C (where they’ll likely win).
- The President, Reid, and other Democrats will push nothing but the shutdown story. Every cable network, including Fox, will get caught up in the silly-season machinations of the shutdown, and we’ll be stuck talking Washington process stories for weeks on end. If you know nothing else about media, it’s that Washington process stories are box-office poison for voters. We won’t be landing oppo hits on the Democrats. Rather, we’ll be in the trenches again, explaining in the interview than we don’t want to cancel Social Security or Medicare and we don’t want to default on the national debt and we don’t want to plunge the economy into a tailspin.
Remember, don’t even bother to rebut the absurdity of the assertions. The Democrats don’t care. They are not bound by truth, and they’ll use this opportunity to demagogue like champions. Don’t play into Barack Obama’s hands, friends. When the trap is this obvious, and the consequences are this serious, don’t walk into its jaws.
Image Credit: Shutterstock user JPL Designs.