Tea Party Freshman Flip-Flops On Government Shutdown

April 01, 2011 11:53 am ET — Alan Pyke

A month ago, freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) was so steaming mad about a compromise continuing resolution to keep the federal government open for two weeks that he told Fox News the GOP might have to shut the government down. "This country very well may need some sort of shock therapy," Walsh said, noting also that "most people in my district say shut it down."

So it was strange to see Walsh pretend yesterday on MSNBC that the idea of a shutdown horrifies him. Asked by host Contessa Brewer if "a shutdown is preferable to a deal," Walsh responded, "Oh, gosh no. We want to cut spending and keep the government funded."

That's a total reversal, in tone and substance, from his position that "we're going to demand the CR for the rest of this year contains the amendments that we voted on." Why the change? The next sentence of his response to Brewer is revealing.

WALSH: Oh, gosh, no. We want to cut spending and keep the government funded. But I'll tell you something, if we can't get a response from the Senate Democrats, this shutdown's at their feet. Look, Contessa, they lost the substantive argument. Their only hope is to get to you, the media, to paint the Republicans like the bad guys. The American people are miles ahead of them. 


Again, this makes plenty of sense given that two polls this week show Americans are much more likely to blame the GOP than President Obama if the government shuts down. If nothing else, Walsh's shift from indignant to aw-shucks is pretty entertaining.