David Weigel over at Slate just posted the following from Ralph Reed’s gathering in Washington:
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) addressed the Faith & Freedom Conference with a hook you’re hearing more and more often. He reminded the crowd that after Republicans won Congress in 1994, they forced a fight over the budget with President Clinton.
“The government shut down,” said Westmoreland — and the crowd started cheering. “That’s what I wanted to hear! A good clap for that!”
According to Westmoreland, if they won a House majority Republicans were going to be “ready to hold the line and get those courageous men and woman” in the new class to stand fast and shut down the government. How would they avoid a repeat of 1995/1996, when the public turned against the shutdown and the GOP buckled?
“We want you with us,” said Westmoreland. “We gotta have you there. Because they’re going to come and say, ‘Daddy can’t go to the VA, the national parks are closed’ … we need to make sure you’re going to be with us.”
Politico.com offers a more concise but less colorful account:
A prominent Republican congressman raised the specter Friday of a government shutdown if the GOP wins control of the House.
Speaking to hundreds of activists gathered at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington for the Faith and Freedom Conference, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) urged the audience to stand with House Republicans when they go toe-to-toe with President Barack Obama.
Westmoreland said his caucus – presuming it takes control of the House come November – aims to pass spending bills that Obama is likely to veto. He predicted Republicans would not be able to override such a veto, creating a standoff that could cause Congress to grind to a halt.
“If the government shuts down, we want you with us,” he said.
The congressman recalled a similar shutdown that took place in 1995, when Newt Gingrich – also a speaker at the conference – was serving as House speaker. A future standstill could temporarily close national parks or delay payments from the government, Westmoreland speculated.
“We have put Band-Aids on some things that need to be cleaned out,” he said. “That is going to take some pain. There’s going to have to be some pain for us to do some things that we’ve got to do to right the ship.