Liberal magazine cautions journalists WH playing them with shutdown fears, is ignored

posted at 6:01 pm on August 27, 2014 by Noah Rothman

The liberal opinion journal The New Republic is warning its ideologically simpatico readers on Wednesday, many of whom are influential political commentators themselves, that they are making a big mistake.

“As we approach the midterms, Democrats are naturally trying to frighten Americans into believing that the GOP could shut down the government again. What isn’t natural is that the media is helping them do it,” TNR’s Danny Vinik wrote.

Well, that’s certainly debatable. But let’s take this assertion at face value for the moment. Down what primrose path are these credulous journalists being led, you ask?

Just weeks after the White House earned scorn from the press after the administration’s fear mongering over a supposed secret plan to impeach Barack Obama was exposed as nothing more than a fundraising pitch, many in the press are buying into the notion that Republicans in Congress are eager to repeat disastrous government shutdown of 2013.

On Tuesday night, the Huffington Post published an article with the headline: “Marco Rubio Hints At A Government Shutdown Fight Over Immigration.” The problem is that Rubio, who was quoted from an interview with Breitbart, doesn’t come close to mentioning a government shutdown. Here’s what he said: “There will have to be some sort of a budget vote or a continuing resolution vote, so I assume there will be some sort of a vote on this. I’m interested to see what kinds of ideas my colleagues have about using funding mechanisms to address this issue.” That’s not hinting at a government shutdown. It’s Rubio saying he wants to use the budget process to put pressure on the Democrats to vote on Obama’s controversial immigration policies.

Vinik warned further that Politico is falling into a similar trap by reading too deeply into a statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who promised to push a Republican agenda as majority leader and force the president to veto those bills. Politico’s headline: “McConnell’s plan to shut down Obama.”

Vinik warns his colleagues that it is perfectly fair for Democrats and those who support that party’s agenda to remind voters of the unpopular shutdown. “But there is no excuse for the news media to inflate the quotes of Republican politicians to make it seem that they are threatening to shut down the government again,” he added.

Indeed, as The Atlantic’s Molly Ball reported on Wednesday, the GOP leadership is terrified of another shutdown and will do whatever they can to avoid a similar debacle. Moreover, she writes, “Democrats have ample incentive to stoke talk of a shutdown—or even to provoke one.”

The White House, demonstrating the same level of shame they displayed whey they hyped the notion that a vote in the House to impeach the president was imminent, dismissed Vinik’s warning. While they could no longer twist Rubio or McConnell’s comments to suit their needs, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was happy to provide them with the fodder to inflate the threat of a new shutdown beyond all logical proportion.

“If the president wields his pen and commits that unconstitutional act to legalize millions, I think that becomes something that is nearly political nuclear,” King told the Des Moines Register on Wednesday. “I think the public would be mobilized and galvanized and that changes the dynamic of any continuing resolution and how we might deal with that.”

He noted that, if Obama attempts to create legal status for millions of illegal immigrants, “all bets are off.” The White House happily interpreted this threat to the CR to mean that Republicans intend to shut down the government again.

“The president is determined to act where House Republicans won’t, and there is strong support for that all across the country,” White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest said definitely on Wednesday. He noted that it “would be a real shame if Republicans were to engage in an effort to shut down the government.” A true shame, indeed. One which would virtually guarantee that Democrats would retain control of the Senate. What a bummer.

A few political reporters are cautiously, and not entirely without reason, taking the threat of a shutdown seriously:

Apparently no one remembers the last time liberal opinion journals warned frenetically of an impending government shutdown in June over the EPA’s new carbon emissions regulations. We all remember how the great government shutdown of the summer of 2014 went.

It certainly is not impossible that a fight over the CR brought about by a Hail Mary executive order on immigration could materialize in the fall, and there are a few members of Congress who saw their personal fortunes rise even as those of their party fell as a result of the shutdown (Ball notes that retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann called the 2013 shutdown one of the GOP’s great triumphs).

The majority of the GOP conference can, however, read a poll. They saw what the shutdown did to the party’s approval rating and electoral prospects, and they know that the only thing that saved them from a political disaster was the fact that the shutdown occurred in October of an off-year. The leadership is unlikely to allow a few rogue members (certainly fewer than the cabal that forced the shutdown in 2013) to set the agenda.

That is not going to stop the reporting class from treating a government shutdown as an imminent prospect. Don’t be surprised when a few breathless headlines about a forthcoming shutdown end up in Democratic fundraising pitches coming to an inbox near you.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Dear Gaia, not another shutdown, we’ve barely filled in the mass graves from the last shutdown.

Bishop on August 27, 2014 at 6:11 PM

A shutdown is a possibility. Don’t assume these people are rational. Anyone who thinks the House GOP isn’t dumb enough to be led by Obama, with an assist from Ted Cruz, into another shutdown debacle hasn’t been watching the same movie I’ve been watching for the past few years. What the majority thinks doesn’t matter. It only takes 15-20 numbskulls in the GOP caucus.

Mark1971 on August 27, 2014 at 6:13 PM

Republicans are so bad at the games. They should have the House pass a budget every single day between now and the time the Senate finally works on something. Make the point that the House is working just fine, it’s the Senate that’s broken.

They’re too incompetent at politics to make a play like that.

HakerA on August 27, 2014 at 6:17 PM

News for the Democrats:

1) The GOP has no plan to shutdown the government
and,
2) I don’t think a shutdown scares anyone outside of DC.

Tater Salad on August 27, 2014 at 6:19 PM

“Shut it down. Shut it all down!”

- Liz Lemon

I agree.

Fathom on August 27, 2014 at 6:20 PM

“The president is determined to act where House Republicans won’t, and there is strong support for that all across the country,” White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest said definitely on Wednesday.

Earnest is channeling his inner Baghdad Carney.

Just more crap for the “Administration of Makin’ Shit Up!”

GarandFan on August 27, 2014 at 6:27 PM

Mark1971 on August 27, 2014 at 6:13 PM

The “shutdown”..(which actually wasn’t a shutdown at all, beyond media spin and white house manipulation) was a bad thing??

Mimzey on August 27, 2014 at 6:27 PM

King should just shut the eff up. He does NOT speak for THIS conservative.

ladyingray on August 27, 2014 at 6:34 PM

Republicans have never shut down government. What a lie. And if a majority of Americans want Obama to rule as Pharoah, we are in big trouble.

VorDaj on August 27, 2014 at 6:34 PM

See this is why the Founders didn’t allow parasites and idiots to vote.

Judge_Dredd on August 27, 2014 at 6:34 PM

Apparently no one remembers the last time liberal opinion journals warned frenetically of an impending government shutdown in June over the EPA’s new carbon emissions regulations. We all remember how the great government shutdown of the summer of 2014 went.

“Jeez, that was, like weeks ago! The Truth, and us Lefties what uphold it when it benefits us, has, like, changed since way back in July and stuff! OMG! Where are you from, anyway?” -TNR editors, bring you the best of today’s news and deep Lefty political insight, with no connection to yesterday what-so-evah.

DublOh7 on August 27, 2014 at 6:43 PM

2) I don’t think a shutdown scares anyone outside of DC.

Tater Salad on August 27, 2014 at 6:19 PM

This.

Obama had to go out of his way to CREATE pain to get people to even NOTICE the supposed “shutdown”, ie: setting up the “BarryCades”, etc on open air monuments, trying to prevent people from SEEING Mt. Rushmore, holding tourists PRISONER in Yellowstone Park, threatening them if they even TRY TO LOOK AT ANYTHING, etc.

DC is scared to death of the possibility that we EVER realize that we DO NOT NEED THEM 1/100000th as much as THEY NEED US. Blow the damn place up, I won’t notice.

ConstantineXI on August 27, 2014 at 6:49 PM

many in the press are buying into the notion that Republicans in Congress are eager to repeat disastrous government shutdown of 2013.

And what a disaster it was. It cost us the house AND the senate.

Oh…wait. No it didn’t. Never mind.

xblade on August 27, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Obama had to go out of his way to CREATE pain to get people to even NOTICE the supposed “shutdown”, ie: setting up the “BarryCades”, etc on open air monuments, trying to prevent people from SEEING Mt. Rushmore, holding tourists PRISONER in Yellowstone Park, threatening them if they even TRY TO LOOK AT ANYTHING, etc.

ConstantineXI

Not to mention there were plenty of republicans running around before the shutdown telling anyone who would listen that a shutdown would be republican’s fault. And then when it happened, they ran around saying it was all the republican’s fault. Go figure.

Meanwhile, let’s all give Noah a round of applause for his concern troll effort of the day, lol.

xblade on August 27, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Obama realized to three truths that allow him to rule as he pleases:
1) there is no “power of the purse”. By refusing to condone any change in spending (besides across the board up), the House must cause a poisonous shutdown. Yes, since the House nominally “originates” budget bills it is their fault.

2) there is no possibility of removal via impeachment. 34 nays is too high of a hurdle.

3) There is no limit to “prosecutorial discretion”

There will never be a majority outrage against abuses because Low Information Voters make up the majority of the electorate. No different than the Occupy’ers, outrage does not extend beyond the tiny circle of light around the politically aware.

Luckily, I will die with no children, so I don’t have a dog in the fight.

deadman on August 27, 2014 at 7:12 PM

disgusting, craven, political schmucks.

lester on August 19, 2014 at 4:46 PM

HumpBot Salvation on August 27, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Republicans are so bad at the games. They should have the House pass a budget every single day between now and the time the Senate finally works on something. Make the point that the House is working just fine, it’s the Senate that’s broken.

They’re too incompetent at politics to make a play like that.

HakerA on August 27, 2014 at 6:17 PM

The Republican-led House passed over 20 bills funding the Government. It was the Democrat-led Senate that didn’t even bring those bills to the floor. And the Republicans are still being blamed for the shutdown. What more could they do?

Mitoch55 on August 27, 2014 at 7:23 PM

the notion that Republicans in Congress are eager to repeat disastrous government shutdown of 2013.

Seriously, what is the point of reading Noah’s columns? He’s farther left than Jazz, a worse writer, and generally incoherent.

#imonlyhereforthecomments

NancyWhisky on August 27, 2014 at 7:32 PM

The only people that hyped the shutdown were libs, nobody was impacted, everybody got paid, nobody got laid off…it was all BS. And here we have a writer at HotAir getting vapors over it.

Noah, what’s your background? Something tells me we don’t share the same political philosophy.

DanMan on August 27, 2014 at 8:05 PM

Are they really going to cry wolf again?

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 27, 2014 at 8:13 PM

The Republican-led House passed over 20 bills funding the Government. It was the Democrat-led Senate that didn’t even bring those bills to the floor. And the Republicans are still being blamed for the shutdown. What more could they do?

Mitoch55 on August 27, 2014 at 7:23 PM

Well, the Republican leadership could have mentioned the fact on the Sunday shows, instead of piling onto Cruz. And while they were on national TV, also noted that the orders shutting down the parks weren’t signed by Republicans.

PersonFromPorlock on August 27, 2014 at 8:18 PM

Oh yeah, one other thing: the House Republicans should have moved a Sense of the House resolution that in cutting off funding for an already passed spending bill to resupply South Vietnamese forces (thus forcing their collapse), the House exceeded its constitutional powers. Let the Democrats vote against that, and then explain how cutting off funds for the ACA was any less constitutional.

PersonFromPorlock on August 27, 2014 at 8:30 PM

Beutler writes like Ned.

formwiz on August 27, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Proofreading is your friend, Noah.

runawayyyy on August 28, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Republicans always have to beat two opponents, Democrats and the media. That’s why I continually implore them to just wear the black hat. They don’t like you, they never will, so don’t do them favors and don’t appeal to them to see that you’re really a reasonable person. Promote your agenda as fiercely as “progressives” promote theirs. When they lie about what you’re doing, call them liars. Loudly. Publicly. In front of cameras and with microphones. Name names.

FishingwFredo on August 28, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Sure. Shut it down. Like any of us who actually keep the nation going really gives a d@mn.

I would, however, give the government fair warning.

If you send your gestapo punks (like the US Forest Service) out to throw people out of their homes, kidnap tourists, or otherwise threaten or intimidate business owners who do not need your authority or permission to continue to operate on park lands, don’t be surprised if we aren’t as passive as before.

Oh, and make sure Barry has Marine One on standby when he wets his pants, again.

Turtle317 on August 28, 2014 at 2:53 PM