Boehner says he doesn’t want to shut the government down. In fact, I haven’t heard a Republican, or any politician, for that matter, say they want the government shut down. But I often don’t believe what politicians say, whether they be Democrats or Republicans.
I usually test statements they make against the record. In this case, I find the Republican protests about not wanting to shut the government down totally disingenuous. The current situation, of course is not a total shut down of government. It is a partial shutdown. “Essential” governmental services are ongoing.
What is or is not an essential government service is, of course, at the heart of the differences between the parties. It has been this way as long as I’ve been aware of politics. In great oversimplification, Republicans prefer smaller government and Democrats larger. At least that is how we refer to their positions in common language. In actual fact, though, the difference is a bit more nuanced than that. They both want big government, just in very different areas. And one party seems much more willing to have deficits than taxes, which I’ve always assumed to reflect which party has the largest representation of people most apt to be in position to loan money to government–and most apt to have deep pockets that might have to pay taxes in a pinch.
What Republicans want, I think, is fewer places in their own business in which government has a say. They believe, it seems to me, that the areas in which government ought to be involved are far fewer than Democrats do. But they are very concerned in seeing civilian order maintained. So they tend to line up behind military spending, but squarely opposed to stock regulation or welfare funding ( unless, of course, we mean “corporate welfare.” There are, of course, also some differences in how government should be involved in even the areas in which both parties would agree the government should be.
When the government is partially shut down, it is far closer to being the Republican ideal of what government should be than it is to the Democratic ideal. In fact it may even be closer to what Republicans think is ideal than what they’re actually apt to have to live with when having to live with a Democratic administration. Especially if we’re talking “Tea Party Republicans,” as increasingly seems to be the case when referring to “Republicans.”
For example, Republicans still get the possible protections of a strong military, including against rioting. And the securities and exchanges watchdogs are completely gone (not that they weren’t already pretty toothless). Plus, of course, who (in the Republican base) needs the welfare services? Well, who with enough intelligence to question demagogues like Rush or Beck, at least?
In general, a partially shutdown government isn’t so bad, if what you want is “smaller government.” What I think Boehner and the others including the Democrats, mean when they say they don’t want the government shut down is that they don’t want to perceived as shutting down the government,
I’m not convinced that the tea party Republicans have any interest in seeing government fully re-implemented.