Republicans have been playing the innocent the past couple of weeks as the now-imminent government shutdown began looming closer, even though it was obvious they were taking their cues from Fox pundits and Rush Limbaugh, who were urging them to embrace the concept.
Who, us, push for a shutdown? they've been saying. Why, it's the Democrats who've been pushing for it, they claim.
Well, Mike Pence cleared that up for us yesterday -- first in an interview with MSNBC's Contessa Brewer, then more loudly at a Tea Party gathering organized at the Capitol by those noted
astroturfers 'entrepreneurial advocates' at Americans for Prosperity:
PENCE: It's time to take a stand. We need to say to liberals, 'This far and no further.' To borrow a line from another Harry, we've got to say, 'The debt stops here.' And if liberals in the Senate would rather play political games and force a government shutdown instead of accepting a modest down payment on fiscal discipline and reform, I say, 'Shut it down.'
After which, of course, the crowd chanted: "Shut It Down! Shut It Down!"
You get the idea of their idea of a workable compromise: Utter defeat for Democrats:
The crowd of bussed-in people from Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and other states, repeatedly cheered for a shutdown and for deeper cuts. “A quarter of a trillion [in cuts] won’t be enough,” Rick Mishoe from South Carolina, told TheDC.
Yet Pence did not threaten to campaign against any deal cut by Boehner. He didn’t lay down any markers, nor demand any particular level of cuts.
Asked afterward if the GOP caucus would gain from a shutdown, he punted, and said that “the politics will take care of themselves.”
“It’s not 1995, the American people are more informed and more engaged… The taxpayer will win in any confrontation with big spenders in Washington,” Pence said.
Well, as Scott Keyes at ThinkProgress observes:
The reason for Boehner’s intransigence is increasingly clear: as Republicans and Democratic lawmakers negotiate, Boehner is giving the Tea Party veto-power. Sen. Chuck Schumer detailed this point while discussing the ongoing negotiations on Good Morning America this week, noting that “The tea party just continues to pull Speaker Boehner further back and back and back. They’re the people who say they don’t want compromise. They’re the people who say they relish a shutdown.”
I can't believe anyone who's watched Fox or listened to Limbaugh for the past couple of weeks would have any doubt about Republican thinking on the issue. Because that's obviously what's being executed here.