Nostalgia for Newt

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Remember when those evil Republicans “shut down the government” back in 1995? They refused to play ball with Clinton, and for it they were seen as symbolic of the most anti-government streak in the American right. Liberals blamed the GOP, and many libertarians credited them, for “shutting down the government”—although, if I remember correctly, disaster did not strike the American Republic when its government was “shut down.”

Ah. Weren’t those the days? The RNC just sent me a fundraising e-mail with the alarmist subject heading: “Help Prevent Senate Democrats From Shutting Down the Government!” The RNC chairman writes, “Dear Anthony, Liberal Democrats in the U.S. Senate are threatening to shut down the Senate if they don’t get their way on judicial nominations. Instead of working to make sure our Constitution is protected and the people’s business is done in Washington, Democrats are, in the words of their leader, Sen. Harry Reid, ‘going to screw things up’ and obstruct the will of the people. Instead of giving all of President Bush’s judicial nominees a fair up-or-down vote, the Democrats intend to block final votes on these qualified nominees. For more than 200 years, judicial nominees with majority support have been given an up or down vote. Under the Constitution, the Senate is obligated to vote on the President’s nominees, but Democrat leaders are rejecting their Constitutional duty and threatening to shut down the Senate if we do not give in to their demands. ”

Well, I don’t believe that the Dems will “shut down the government” or the Senate any more than the Republicans really did so in the 1990s. But if it came to two choices—shutting down the Senate or approving Bush’s nominees—I know whom I would root for.

5:33 pm on April 19, 2005
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