In mid-August, the Heritage Foundation hoped to convince congressional Republicans that a deliberate government shutdown would be a political winner for the already unpopular party. The far-right activist group didn't want to call it a shutdown; it preferred the phrase "a temporary slowdown in non-essential federal government operations."
Yes, in Republican politics in 2013, even a government shutdown is subject to rebranding.
Rep. Michele Bachmann told TPM over the weekend, "There is no such thing as a shutdown. It's only a slowdown." Fox News had a similar pitch this morning, posting this image to its homepage:
Matt Yglesias noted in response:
It's an interesting messaging tactic. Here's a good list over at Mother Jones of all the different classes of people who'll be impacted by the elimination of non-"essential" government services. It includes everyone from people who need permits for oil and gas exploration to people who might worry about the absence of CDC infection disease monitoring. Thanks to the shutdown it'll be harder to get a small business loan and harder to get many classes of mortgages. Poor people are going to lose safety net benefits and FBI agents will work without pay.
But don't worry, America, it's really just "a temporary slowdown in non-essential federal government operations," being imposed on the nation because Republicans lost an election. It may hurt the economy and hundreds of thousands of people, punishing the country for no particular reason and with no real policy goals in mind, but just think of it as a "slimdown."