Back when we were up against a potential government shutdown in May, the House Republicans in the toss-up races worked out a bipartisan deal to prevent it from happening. In so doing, they made clear that they weren’t willing to let a shutdown happen, because they feared it would cost them their own seats in 2024.
When we were up against another potential government shutdown in September, those same House Republicans in toss-up races forced Kevin McCarthy (presumably under threat of removal) to pass a continuing resolution. At that point it was abundantly clear that they weren’t going to let a shutdown happen at any point.
Even though that series of events resulted in McCarthy’s ouster from the other side, there was no reason to expect that there would be a shutdown under new Speaker Mike Johnson’s watch. After all, those same House Republicans in toss-up districts are clearly dug in on their position that there will not be a shutdown. And since their votes combined with all the House Democrats are enough votes to keep a shutdown from happening, it’s all pretty simple, right?
Except no, it’s not. Yes, we’re reaching an almost Groundhog Day level of predictability when it comes to each budget deadline. Sure, it’s becoming easier than ever to predict that there once again won’t be a shutdown. But why would anyone in the media and pundit class want to admit this to audiences, when they can instead act like we’re about to have a shutdown, and milk it for ratings?
So if you were paying attention to the facts, you weren’t surprised at all when the House once again passed a continuing resolution with bipartisan support today. Yep, there once again won’t be a shutdown. But if you were watching TV, then this inevitable continuing resolution may have come as quite the surprise to you. At least MSNBC didn’t have a “shutdown countdown clock” on the screen this time. I’ll give them that.
But keep in mind that when the entire media predicts something like a government shutdown, and I’m the only person who says it’s not going to happen, and I end up being the only one proven correct, it’s not because I’m Nostradamus. A lot of these predictions are pretty easy to get right. The real story is why the entire media keeps willfully getting these kinds of predictions wrong. Everyone covering this story knew there wasn’t going to be a shutdown. They knew it last time and they knew it this time. Why do they keep pretending otherwise? And why does the public allow the media to keep getting away with making intentionally wrong predictions in the name of chasing ratings?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report