Last time the government shut down in 1995-96, Republicans were blamed and paid a heavy price. They lost seats in both the House and Senate, and Presidential candidate Bob Dole went down in defeat to President Clinton.
Today, most polls show voters are blaming Republicans for the shutdown, but not as much as they did 18 years ago. According to a CBS News poll, 44 percent of those surveyed blame Republicans for the current shutdown, 35 percent blame Democrats.
Back in 1995 the margin was more significant. At that time, 51 percent blamed Republicans and 28 percent blamed President Clinton.
This time, with no end in sight, anger will continue to grow, one side will be forced to blink, and one side will get more of the blame. With midterm election still 13 months away, both sides may be banking on the public’s short-term memory.
Perhaps all will be forgotten and forgiven when voters go to the polls in November 2014. Let’s hope not. It is the people who hire members of Congress. We can fire them, too.