The shutdown showdown shows how much worse politics is today than in the 1990s. And it was bad then.
Back then, Newt Gingrich shut down the government because…well, nobody can remember why. Except he was mad that President Clinton made him sit in the back of Air Force One. And Newt wanted to show that he was the most powerful man in the world.
Well, Bill showed Newt a thing or two about politics. The Republicans backed down. Poor Bob Dole’s campaign for President never recovered. Clinton built a bridge to tomorrow and met Monica, and the rest is history.
But politics is worse today. And a long shutdown is more likely because the same consequences as last time are unlikely.
None of the Republican red-hots are afraid of losing their congressional seats, because they picked their voters. Their crowd will cheer when the government shuts down. Until the voters realize government does some things they like.
There’s no presidential election next year, like there was in 1995. This time, in fact, wanna-be’s like Ted Cruz think a shutdown is their ticket to the GOP nomination.
Also different: for all his strengths, President Obama is no Bill Clinton when it comes to hardball, insider politics.
Obama should just stand his ground. After all, Republicans already lost the Obamacare war. Congress passed it, the Supreme Court upheld it, Mitt Romney ran against it, and Obama won again. Tuesday, health care reform begins. In a couple of years, everybody will wonder what all the fuss was about.
And American politics will still look like trench warfare from World War I a century ago.