While some House Republicans say they never wanted a government shutdown, Rachel Maddow begs to differ.
Appearing on The Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday, Republican Congressman Scott Rigell said he doesn’t support the tactics of his House Republican colleagues that have resulted in the shutdown of the U.S. government, but took issue with Maddow’s characterization of some of his colleagues.
Those 80 members that you said are absolutely committed to shutdown, I disagree with that. I’ve never heard that privately or publicly.
But Maddow didn’t make that assertion out of hand. Later in the show she listed example after example of giddy Republicans eager to pull the plug on the federal government.
Well, for one contingent of the Republican Party, the contingent that happens to be running the Republican Party right now, the events of the last 24 hours have been something akin to winning the Showcase Showdown.
From the Washington Post yesterday: “On Cusp of Shutdown, House Conservatives Excited”
“It’s wonderful,” said Republican Congressman John Culberson, “clapping his hands to emphasize the point, ‘We’re 100 percent united!’”
As Congress hurtled through last night’s midnight deadline, in those final moments when it became clear that the U.S. government would have to shut down, Republican Congressman David Schweikert was so psyched that he was at a loss for words. Talking to the National Journal, Congressman Schweikert was eager and excited! His “eyes wide” and his “smile broadening!” He had a discernible spring in his step!
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann told the Post, “We are very excited…it is exactly what we wanted.”
Not only is the GOP pleased with the idea of a shutdown, but it’s been their goal since before helping Republicans take control of the House in 2010, Maddow added.
But before that election, before they even got control of the House of Representatives, six months before the 2010 election, Republicans running for Congress and conservative media, and prominent voices on the right were already promising, hoping even, that if they could win themselves a house majority that would mean they would go for a government shutdown.
Political consultant Dick Morris in August of 2010 told a faithful audience, “Now there’s gonna be, there’s going to be a government shutdown, just like in ‘95 and ‘96 but we’re going to win it this time! And I’ll be fighting on your side!”
While campaigning for Senate in September, 2010, Alaska conservative, Joe Miller, spoke enthusiastically to a Fox News host asking about “starving the beast”: “Absolutely, and have the courage to shut down the government if we have to.”
And just a few weeks before the 2010 elections, Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, made a similar threat/promise: If we say look, the American people we’re listening to the American people, this is what we’re going to do. If government shuts down, we want you with us.
Even Republican thought leader Rush Limbaugh, in October 2010, talked up the possibility of shutting down the government: “There are a lot worse things than shutting down the government. You know what one thing is? One thing worse than shutting down the government is the government continuing on like it is now.”
Beyond their words, the actions of House Republicans once they seized the majority in the House is testimony to how desirous they were of a government shutdown. “It has been roughly two and a half years since Republicans won control of the House of Representatives, and in those two and a half years they have threatened to shut down the government or default on the national debt seven times,” Maddow said. “They were unsuccessful six of those times, but the seventh times the charm!”