A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. So, in the midst of the partial government shutdown, it seems everyone has taken turns placing blame. It’s the Senator Ted Cruz shutdown, the Obama shutdown, the Tea Party shutdown.
The point here is not to own the shutdown, but to make someone else own it – to personalize it and dump it on the other side. We’re not talking about the policy side of it here, but how political operations are using the shutdown.
For example, here in Michigan, Democratic Party fundraising messages are calling it “Terry Lynn Land’s shutdown.” She has shut down the government, apparently, while still merely a candidate for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.
And, as the federal government grinds to a standstill, political fundraisers and message-makers are working overtime. This is an environment that is, as they say, target rich. There are people whose jobs are to take these moments that command people’s attention, incite passion, anger, frustration, and turn them into campaign cash and memorable political messages.
But when everyone’s talking about the same thing, it can also be difficult to break through the cacophony. And a lot of people seem to be working off the same talking points. Democrats have one set: critical services in peril; a country held hostage by the Tea Party. Republicans, another: Democrats did this. They won’t negotiate.