John Quiggin moots the idea that if Republicans secure a majority in the House of Representatives we’ll see a replay of the 1995 budget shutdown. The case against this happening is that conventional wisdom holds that the shutdown was a fiasco for Newt Gingrich that members of congress will be loathe to repeat.
I think the case for it happening is twofold. One is that conservative politics is now much more dominated by a set of overlapping, competing media figures who are more interested in ratings than in majorities. The other is that if John Boehner has the courage of my convictions, he’ll believe that a government shutdown will risk sending the economy into a double-dip recession and that ultimately Barack Obama will be blamed for the bad results regardless of what polling says in the moment. Now does Boehner have those convictions? I have no idea. And would he really be so bold and immoral as to roll the dice on that basis? I also have no idea. But it could happen. To an extent, I think the functioning of our political system depends on the key actors not fully understanding how it works.