March 30th, 2011
A lot of fellow progressives have been telling me they hope for a shutdown. The liklihood increases just about hourly at this point heading towards next week's budget deadline. To be fair, I too have opined of late that we should let it happen. This is not amongst my more prudent recommendations. It is an emotional response to very real frustrations. Although I do remember the Gingrich-led clusterfuck of the mid-nineties generally benefitting the Democratic party, we sure didn't get much in the way of financial reform afterward that would have helped stave off the current crisis. It really only helped secure Clinton's power.
Ezra Klein notes:
"Evidence from the states suggests budget chaos can help the executive even as it harms legislators from both parties, reports Ezra Klein: Political scientists Asger Lau Andersen, David Dreyer Lassen and Lasse Holbøll Westh Nielsen tallied up 167 instances since 1988 alone. But then they went a step further and tried to isolate the fiscal mismanagement they had on the next election. They succeeded. Voters respond to budgetary chaos, and they do so angrily and predictably. The big takeaway is that blame is not shared equally: “Governors are subjected to an electoral penalty only under unified government, while legislatures are always held accountable.”...]W]hen Congress fails to pass a budget on time, voters turn on Congress, not just the minority or majority party. The researchers calculate that a budgetary breakdown under divided government reduces the chances that incumbent legislators from either party will get reelected, though it helps the governor’s party in the gubernatorial elections. That’d suggest that a shutdown would be bad for everyone serving in Congress, but good for Obama."