Thursday, February 24, 2011

Republicans Ahead?

I know, I know. It is Fox News. Still, I am very interested to see what will happen in the coming weeks in terms of a Government shutdown. I have seen several arguments about why the Democrats will come out on top, but this article (predictably) argues that Republicans will come out ahead. Essentially, Stirewalt argues that things are much different now than they were in 1995. He argues that "A divided-congress, a mild-mannered Republican speaker, a competitive media environment and public concern over debt all add up to a tougher envrionment for Democrats to profit politically from a shutdown." It seems to me that if Obama and the Democrats do not get more vocal and aggressive about why the Government is shutting down, and instead just continue to lie down before the Republicans, the Republicans will have a VERY good shot of coming out ahead politically. On the other hand if Democrats control the message, the Republicans will be blamed. Given recent history though, I just do not see that happening.


PBM said...

Republican "insiders" (whatever that means) seem to disagree with Stirewalt in this National Journal poll.

Ian Thresher said...

I think that is a very interesting poll. It almost seems like the rolls are reversed in the sense that Democrats secretly want a shutdown and Republicans secretly want to keep the Government going. But regardless of what the politicians themselves actually want, it seems possible that public opinion will come out on the side of the Republicans. Especially if they are able to spin it as successfully as they have been able to spend other policies.

Ryan Karerat said...

I would agree that it's the Democrats who have the most to lose here.

Particularly with Obama trying to 'stay above the fray' so far, I think there's a strong chance the public will take from this that the Democratic leadership had a responsibility to lead on the issue because of their control over the Senate and White House, but failed to do so. Nevermind the fact that the Republican proposed CR extensions that they know would be rejected by Democrats - the fact that they're proposing anything is enough for them to get to say that they at least tried to avoid the shutdown.

Not to mention, a government shutdown will actually force Obama to come to the table and more actively involve himself in negotiations. Whether he holds his nerve in that situation will tell us a lot about who comes out 'on top' from this.

PBM said...

Yeah, I kind of agree that Dems are more likely to lose because their communications shop is absolutely atrocious, I just thought the "insider" poll was an interesting addition to your post.