Bill Clinton has some solid advice for President Obama on the government shutdown. He said Obama should not negotiate and let Republicans take their medicine on a government shutdown.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to talk more about CGI in a bit, but we’ve got also some big news breaking this week. It looks like, for the first time since you were president, could be another significant government shutdown perhaps- even a default. And when you look at it- is that where we’re headed? And is there anything President Obama can do to stop it?
BILL CLINTON: Well, I guess he could stop it but the price of- the current price of stopping it is higher than the price of letting the Republicans do it and taking their medicine.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How so?
BILL CLINTON: Well- the current price of stopping it is, we’re not gonna have any legislative process, no negotiations, no hearings, no evaluation of the consequences. Here are the draconian cuts we want you to adopt, including massive cuts in nutrition for the children of low-income working people, people working. The Republicans say, “You just haven’t given us enough cuts in the things we want to cut. And we’ve decided what we want to cut and we’ve decided what we don’t want to cut. We don’t want to negotiate with the democrats in the House. And we have no intention of doing what the law requires that we negotiate with the Senate, because the Senate has the Democratic majority. The Democrats in the Senate have already negotiated with the Republicans.”
“So we want to just scrap all that. Give us what we want or we’re gonna shut the government down.” I think under those circumstances, the president has to take the position he’s taken, which is you, not me, you voted to spend this money. America is one of- maybe the only country in the world that requires two votes to spend money. First, they vote to spend the money. Then they got to vote again to issue the bonds to, in effect, bar the money from the American people to cover the spending they’ve already voted for. You can’t negotiate over that. And I think he’s right not to.
Republicans want to defund the ACA so badly that they are willing to shutdown the government. Democrats are telling them to do it. A government shutdown won’t get rid of the ACA, but a group of House Republicans think that Democrats will buckle to their threat. As President Clinton pointed out, this is very unlikely to happen.
The entire Republican strategy is based on the notion that Democrats love their country, and will do anything including delaying Obamacare to save it. However, what Democrats would have to give up, in order to “save” the country would be worse than letting Republicans shut the government down. Giving Republicans everything that it would take to both fund the government and avoid a default would be devastating for the country.
House Republicans don’t get the fact that they have made this an easy decision for President Obama. They have chosen the worst possible option. Democrats fought for decades to for healthcare reform. They aren’t going to give it up, just because a few Republicans are stomping their feet and demanding it.
Democrats are more unified than the Republicans. If Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and some House Republicans want a government shutdown, they can have it. If the shutdown lasts for an extended period of time, Republicans will be swallowing a bitter pill when the ACA remains standing and John Boehner pass a clean Continuing Resolution.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association