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As one political quandary ends, so comes the advent of another. The same GOP brats who stubbornly chose to stick with governing through the art of crankiness versus compromise when dealing with the “fiscal cliff” are now rallying the war cry over the debt-ceiling. As fate would have it, this would be the issue that could pose legitimate and decisive threats to the economy.

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Those leading the charge include the newly sworn in freshman senator from Texas, Ted Cruz (R-TX, pictured), who is already calling for a government shutdown unless Congress agrees to massive budget cuts. Speaking on Mark Levin’s radio show last Friday, Cruz cited the Republican-led government shutdown of 1995 to lend credence to his assertion that shutdowns yield better results in economic policy.

Cruz argued:

What would happen if the debt ceiling isn’t raised is it would be a partial government shutdown. We’ve seen this before, we saw this in 1995, when Republicans in the House shut down the government. What happened was it was a partial shutdown, there was some political cost to be paid but at the end of the day, because Republicans stood strong in 1995. We saw year after year of balanced budgets and some of the most-fiscally-responsible policies Congress has produced in the modern era. If we hold strong, we can do that again. It just comes down to Republicans. Are we willing to stand strong and face the wrath of the mainstream media criticizing us and the President saying nasty things about us?

Considering Cruz is a favorite of both the Tea Party and former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, I shouldn’t be surprised to see that Cruz is so loose with history. Yes, back in 1995, on two separate occasions, the Republicans did force a shut down of the federal government. However, they ultimately faced huge public backlash over it and aided then-President Bill Clinton with his re-election efforts.

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At a time when the economy is still volatile, unemployment remains far too high, and frustrations continue to fester about Washington, how smart would it be to not only potentially send the global markets into a tizzy, but also furlough federal employees and toy with the benefits of those using Social Security and Medicaid?

Don’t forget that Ted Cruz is also the same person who claimed on Fox News, “Moving forward with the debt ceiling and those who believe in limited spending and solving the debt…I don’t think what Washington needs is more compromise, I think what Washington needs is more common sense and more principle.”

Heaven, he needs a clue. By the way, on behalf of saner born Texans everywhere, my apologies to this nitwit and all the trouble he seeks to start.

Unfortunately, it’s not just Cruz that’s searching for a shutdown.

On Sunday, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) appeared on CBS’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday also lending his support to a suspension of the federal government. Like Cruz, Salmon reflected kindly to the 1995 stunt, dubbing the shutdowns as the “impetus” for “some real serious compromise.”

There’s also Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who noted on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that when it comes to a shutdown, his GOP brethren needed “to be willing to tolerate” that prospect. Another Texan I don’t want to claim, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), argued a similar stance in an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle.

And what exactly would a government shutdown do in the way of getting the Obama Administration to undertake the massive cuts in spending these conservative haters of compromise want? Diddly squat squared, but as Slate’s Matthew Yglesias explained last week:

The result won’t be a “shutdown” of government functions; it’ll be a deadbeat federal government. Some people won’t get money they’re legally entitled to. But who won’t be paid? And who will decide who won’t be paid? Does the Secretary of the Treasury just arbitrarily get to decide that bondholders and residents of blue states get paid, but there are no Social Security benefits for Texans? Can Obama dock [John] Cornyn‘s pay but not Chuck Schumer‘s? Certainly there’s no legal authority for that kind of prioritization, but what’s Obama supposed to do if Congress tries to prevent him from spending money that he’s legally obliged to spend.

So we’ll be ducking bill collectors and pissing off the President and much of the nation in the process? Not only do these Republicans not know much about the way government works, these brand of conservatives look even less adept about politicking: 77 percent of Americans already disapprove of what’s going on in Washington, and it’s been quite clear for a while now which party is mostly to blame for that.

When it comes to these Republicans and their calls for a shutdown to force feed austerity, what’s the political equivalent of saying, “I hate you, Jody!?”

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick


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