It’s time to shut ‘er down.

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Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM & FM, Friday, Apr. 1, 2011.

Fans of the movie The Godfather will remember the phrase “go to the mattresses.” The expression is said to originate from the Mafia. It means to go secure an apartment and bring in a bunch of mattresses for one’s soldiers to sleep upon during a protracted war against a rival faction or gang.

The expression turned up in the movies a second time in You’ve Got Mail when Tom Hanks, offering business advice to Meg Ryan via an instant message exchange, advised her to “go to the mattresses” in her battle with a larger, stronger competitor. (As it turned out, that larger, stronger competitor was Tom Hanks himself.)

Going to the mattresses means that whether you want war or don’t want war, it is nevertheless war. The line has been drawn and the matter will only be decided after a fight.

So it is, I believe, with respect to the looming deadline for funding the government beyond the expiration of the current spending resolution a week from today (April 8). It’s time for the Republicans to go to the mattresses.

Drawing a line and saying, “no more” likely means that the government will “shut down” for a while. I put the words “shut down” in quotes because the government doesn’t really shut down. The military continues to operate as normal. The IRS still processes payments (although they don’t process refunds).

The mail still gets delivered and the air traffic controllers still go to work and the federal prisons are still guarded.

Yellowstone National Park, however, is closed. So is the Air & Space Museum. No Capitol tours for your Boy Scout troop. No processing of your passport application.

Until the Congress authorizes the funds, these government operations and many like them will, in fact, shut down and the employees will not report to work. (But if an impasse actually comes, when it is finally resolved, it is virtually certain that the affected federal employees will receive full pay for the days they didn’t work.)

When the government is so big that “shutting it down” doesn’t result in actually shutting it down; when the deficit is over one and a half trillion dollars and congressional Republicans can’t get Democrats to agree to even a $60 billion spending reduction (a paltry two percent); when the debt attendant to funding such deficits rises by $4 trillion in two years and now equals the entire value of all goods and services produced by the American economy in a year; it’s time to go to the mattresses.

But some Republicans, despite the unmistakable message sent by voters in November 2010, are squeamish. They remember 1995 when then House Speaker Newt Gingrich squared off against President Bill Clinton in a somewhat similar showdown over a spending resolution.

In that kerfuffle, Clinton successfully pinned the blame for shutting down the government on the Republicans. Some Republicans have never gotten over it.

But this type of inside-the-Beltway calculus is of another age. From today’s pespective, 1995 was a thousand years ago.

In 1995, the legacy media dominated the flow of information and Republicans had no effective voice in making their case. Sixteen years later, there is Fox News and talk radio and websites like National Review and American Thinker. There is Facebook and Twitter.

The big three network newscasts and the New York Times, still potent, are nonetheless no longer the oligopolies that they were.

If the Republicans will only have the fortitude to make their case for saying enough is enough, their story will get a hearing and a government shutdown won’t be pinned on them as a bad thing. Instead, Republicans will be rewarded for actually acting on the unmistakable message that the voters sent in November.

If the Democrats want a fight, Republicans should give them one.

Shut the government down and trust the American people to figure out why it happened.

It’s time to go to the mattresses.

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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6 Responses

  1. L Miles says:

    We are witnessing in real time the utterly defensive mode of House Speaker John Boehner. He said Thursday that Republicans “can’t impose our will” on the White House and Senate Democrats on legislation to cut tens of billions of dollars in federal spending.

    Didn’t the Republicans sign a promise that they would cut $100 billion? Now, he is thought to be willing to compromise down to $33 billion in order to avoid a government shutdown. Even $100 billion is peanuts (3%) compared to the profligate $3 trillion spending rate of 2011, so far. None of the deficit spending is stimulating the economy, but to the contrary is choking the free market to death as hyperinflation is sure to follow. Half of the $3 trillion is being put on the national credit card that already has $14 trillion in debt and $100 trillion in long term liabilities: the entire net worth of the country.

    The only reason the budget battle is occurring is because the Democrats (deliberately) NEVER passed a budget for the current fiscal year in the last Congress (as required by law) when they had control of both Houses of Congress for fear of even more negative election consequences last November. The Democrats have framed the argument so that Boehner constantly has to defend his desire NOT to shut down the government. What a loser! He obviously doesn’t know how to fight the lying Democrat bullies.

    The Obama administration is deliberately forcing us into bankruptcy so he can usher in his new “Hope and Change” (strong Socialist/Marxist) form of government. Under these conditions, the Republicans MUST stop this hemorrhage of our national wealth. Do we hear anything from Boehner that alerts the American people to this national financial emergency? NO.

    With so-called leaders like Boehner, we are sunk! 2012 can’t come soon enough!

  2. Linda E. Montrose says:

    I am for doing whatever it takes to get us back on track! If it means shutting down the government, then DO IT! I have absolutely NO RESPECT for Boehner and his ilk. They are do nothings. They are weak and they are cowardly. They are letting obama and his thugs do whatever they please just for the hope that the media will not attack them. When are they going to LEARN the media does not like the right…never have and no matter WHAT you do, they never will. Boehner needs to step aside and let someone with testicular fortitude take over and do the RIGHT thing. Boehner seems to be lacking in that area! As well as the majority of the so call republicans. The whole bunch needs to man up, take the bull by the horns and call obama and his thugs bluff! Shut the government down, then let the whole world know exactly WHY this happened. Stop cowering! Start giving back what the dems have thrown at us all these years. You can not be timid among cut throats. The only way for us to come out of this is to shove back and keep shoving until they come to realize we are serious about taking this Country back. We need something to leave our Children, grandchildren and their children besides a mountain of debt!

  3. Shared Prosperity says:

    Since the 1920’s, the history of the United States has been dominated by the adoption of the Welfare State: New Deal, Fair Deal, New Frontier, Great Society, etc. The reason for the current debt and deficit crisis is the reluctance of the Congress to pass tax legislation to keep up with the demand of the American people for government services and guarantees: the “economic safety net” or in my words, Shared Prosperity. Socialism is the de facto economic system in this country whether you Conservatives like it or not. Need I mention the vast number of social welfare programs to aid the poor and disadvantaged, or for that matter, the huge economic support for large corporations and unions that serve the national interest for new technologies or need bailouts?

    As I have stated in an earlier opinion, income taxes must DOUBLE FOR EVERYONE, in tax brackets 15% and above, to solve the US deficit and debt crisis. Please see the following link:

    http://www.youtellmetexas.com/2010/12/16/god-bless-the-rich-successful/comment-page-1/#comment-1036

    Socialism must be paid for. There is no free lunch. Freeloaders simply can’t be tolerated. That is why we must raise taxes sufficiently on ALL income to support the Welfare State. This is only fair if we are going to provide a minimum equality of living standards for everyone. There is nothing wrong with taxes increasing to 50% and 75% on income if basic necessities are being paid for by the government such as health care, disability and retirement income, and food and housing assistance. When the basic needs of the population are provided by the government, less disposable income is required for each family or individual. This only makes sense if every able-bodied person is NOT allowed to freeload on the rest of society. The government MUST insist on everyone working even if it has to provide a government job if one is not available in the private sector. Full employment and high taxes are necessary to satisfy the financial requirements of our Socialist system if it is to remain solvent.

  4. Joe Mannard says:

    Paul, you do know if it’s shut down the military families do not get paid. They continue to earn but actually see no money. Is that what you want?

  5. Matt McCauley says:

    Greetings Paul,

    I certainly agree it’s time for republicans to go to the mattresses….and the microphones….and the social networks and the rhetorical skills of Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, and yes, Ronald Regan.

    The message the current crop of so called conservative lacks alacrity and passion held by these communicators. They are indeed squeamish, alomst like the schoolgirl at the playground who doesn’t like spiders or snakes. They fear pointing out that circulation at the NY Times, LA Times, USA Today are down because of their bias and credibility because they think they need them to spread their message. Same with the major video media outlets in spite of their declining ratings and overt ‘water carrying’ skills for the Obama administration and their ilk. Passion fuels confidence in the one displaying it and in the recipients of the message. Carried a bit further, that same passion stirs the recipients of the message to action. Case in point? The Tea Party.

    Why oh Why, have the Republicans not absolutey HAMMERED Chuck Schumer on his supposed ‘off air’ remarks about the ‘extreme’ Tea Party? Could it be that they fear that they would illustrate Schumers point? I’ve been to some of the meetings and in a very real sense I’d say the Tea Party is extreme! Extremely PASSIONATE about taking the country back, extremely concerned about the wanton and willful disregard for a majority of Americans opinion about Obamacare, national debt, energy policy. Extremely willing to speak up, take action and use the tools they have to point out the actions of a ‘Dumb and Dumber’ Congress and Executive branch making America Broke and Broker.

    Trouble is, passion works both ways, and for now liberals, print and video media still have too many functioning passionate teeth; and the answer to that is ‘go to the mattresses’ roll up your sleeves, and get ready to rumble…..passionately!

    To quote Churchill regarding a fight “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

    The results of Churchills passionate leadership speak for themselves and we would do well to learn from them!

  6. diana guerra says:

    jack ass idiot!! coming from a military wife….

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