Here’s why the right wing’s dreams for a glorious a government shutdown will backfire – Alternet.org
In the fantasy world that is Fox News and AM talk radio, partial government shutdowns brought about by Republicans are often portrayed in a positive light. To far-right ideologues, shutdowns demonstrate that Republicans are so principled that they’re even willing to temporarily close down parts of the federal government if they think it’s necessary. And President Donald Trump has been receiving that message loud and clear, declaring that he will keep the government partially shut down unless Congress agrees to set aside $5 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall stretching all the way from the Pacific to the gulf.
But putting aside the most far-right extremists, previous government shutdowns have been wildly unpopular — and Republicans damage their own reputations with the brinkmanship.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has long been a champion of shutdowns. When the late President George H.W. Bush included a tax hike in a deficit-reduction package in 1990, Gingrich — who was House minority whip at the time — threw a temper tantrum that led to a partial government shutdown. Around 8,700 government workers were furloughed, Smithsonian museums were closed, and the net cost was $1.67 million.
Democrats were the majority in the House in 1990, but Gingrich became even more obnoxious after Republicans achieved a House majority in the 1994 midterms and he became House speaker. Gingrich was consistently hostile to President Bill Clinton, and the House speaker’s budgetary battles with Clinton led to shutdowns in November 1995 and December 1995/January 1996. The November 1995 shutdown was the most severe: roughly 800,000 federal workers were furloughed.