According to a CNN/ORC poll, released on Monday, Congress now has a mere 10 percent approval rating and 87 percent of Americans disapprove of the job done by Congress. Although there are echoes of the last government shutdown in the current one, the reality is that it is much worse for the GOP.
This is a prime opportunity for the Democrats to severely damage the GOP and to do that, they need to place the negativity of the shutdown at the Republicans’ feet and give them no leeway. Former President Bill Clinton has called upon President Obama to do just that.
Citing his very own experience with a Republican-enacted government shutdown, Clinton said Obama is correct by not giving the GOP any room for compromise on the Affordable Care Act and the government shutdown.
“The current price of stopping [a shutdown] is higher than the price of letting the Republicans do it and taking their medicine,” said Clinton. He then commented on the bill that would delay Obamacare that crashed in the Democrat-held Senate, ”You can’t negotiate over that, and I think he’s right not to.”
If the situation was bad for the GOP in the 90s during the last shutdown, the current one is exponentially worse. Indeed, Congress’s approval rating is at 10 percent now, and measure that against Congress’s approval rating that fluctuated between 30 and 35 percent during the last shutdown.
During the last government shutdown in 1995, the Republicans “suffered” a severe “loss of confidence” from the public and they subsequently toppled Newt Gingrich from his spot as House Speaker and hoisted President Clinton higher in the polls. Charles Krauthammer, conservative columnist, said that “nothing could revive the fortunes of a failing, flailing, fading Democratic administration than a government shutdown where the president is portrayed as standing up to the GOP on honoring our debts and paying our soldiers in the field.”
Currently, Obama has an approval rating that is the same as Clinton’s when he endured the government shutdown in 1995, around 40 – 45 percent. And this current presidential approval rating, coupled with a Congressional approval rating three times less than in 95’, creates a grim outlook for the GOP.
The shutdown is expected to disrupt a large number of programs upon which many Americans depend. Under the gun are the National Park Service, the Women, Infants and Children program (which helps young, needy families purchase food), disability benefits, and the National Institutes of Health, which will turn down about 200 patients a week. Some of those patients are cancer-stricken kids.
The Republicans have tried to powerplay President Obama and the Democrats time and time again but failed. If Obama and the Dems stick to their guns and continue to let the GOP dig themselves a deeper and deeper grave, it could severely damage the GOP, and just in time to still carry resonance during the midterm elections.