The Tea Party Enthusiasm for a Government Shutdown

This article is from the archive of our partner .

As the prospects for a budget compromise diminish and a government shutdown becomes more likely, some Tea Partiers are beginning to relish the moment. "It's unsustainable! Let him shut it," tweeted Tea Party heroine Sarah Palin. "Leaderless govt digs further debt, bickers over cutting peanuts - peanuts we don't even have." As Palin suggest President Obama ("him") and the Democrats are squarely to blame for any shutdown, goes this line of thinking. But given the Tea Party enthusiasm for less government, it's not all bad if it happens. 

RedState, Jeff Emanuel gives a perfect example of this argument in a blog post titled, directly, "A government shutdown is not a bad thing":

If passing a budget alone really is the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of young Americans, the Democrats sure do have a lot of blood on their hands ...  However, as usual, this Democrat-and-media handwringing and fearmongering does not reflect anything even remotely approaching reality. The very fact that government agencies and organizations have non-essential personnel present in the first place could be viewed as a testament to our bloated, overfunded (with borrowed money), unsustainable government, which is badly in need of trimming and streamlining.

This was also reflected in an interview Rep. Joe Walsh, a freshman in the Tea Party caucus, gave to CBS . "If we need the government shut down for a few days for us to really get serious, I think the American people are with that," he said.

Recommended Reading

This burgeoning shutdown enthusiasm shouldn't come as surprise to people watching the polls. Two weeks ago, a CNN poll found that 62 percent of Tea Party supporters believe a government shutdown would be a good thing while only 35 percent of independents support a shutdown. That squares with an NBC poll that asked Republicans and independents: "Do you want Republican leaders in the House and Senate to make compromises on current budget debate, or do you want them to stick to their positions even if it means not gaining consensus on the budget?" In that survey, only 38 percent of Republicans supported compromise while independents favored compromise 65-30. Furthermore, a Gallup poll on Wednesday found that Republicans are the only group that prefers a shutdown if they don't get the desired budget.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.