Speaking yesterday at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) continued to talk up his proposed strategy to stop President Obama’s health care policies: Win a Republican majority in Congress, and then shut down the government.
“Stage one of the end of Obamaism will be a new Republican Congress in January that simply refuses to fund any of the radical efforts,” said Gingrich. “Now I say this because our friends in the news media said, you know it’s realistic to talk about ‘repeal and replace,’ because after all he’s gonna be president for the next three years and he’ll veto a repeal bill. And I think they forgot that once upon a time, that I used to be Speaker of the House, and I actually understand the legislative process.”Gingrich continued: “And the truth is, the truth is under our Constitution we simply — the Congress doesn’t have to pass the money. If EPA gets no budget, it can’t enforce cap-and-trade. If HHS gets no budget (applause)…”
Gingrich was previously talking up this same idea at least as far back as two weeks ago, and it has also been mentioned by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).
The fun part is that this idea isn’t new. This sounds a lot like Gingrich’s actual playbook during the GOP’s first two years in the majority in 1995 and 1996, when he shut down the government twice during political battles with Bill Clinton. The end result was that the public blamed the GOP for the impasse, and Clinton’s approval ratings went back up and he was re-elected easily.
So what would Gingrich recommend if the shutdowns backfire, and Obama is re-elected in 2012? Maybe he would advise John Boehner to spend the next two years looking for a scandal that would lead to impeaching the president.