One reason Republicans are in no hurry to reopen the government is that it in itself accomplishes major aims of the party. Among the many examples of this is throwing the operation of federal public lands back to the states, as we are seeing with states taking over the operation of some national parks:
But the use of state funds to pay national park staff fuels the arguments of people like Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), who believe states should have more control of federal land. “’If anything,’ the shutdown has shown that states and localities may be able to manage the properties better than the federal government,” he told E&E News.
Though the state control issue has reared its head around the West for years, the momentum is strongest in Bishop’s home state, where in March 2012 Governor Gary Herbert signed a law requiring the feds to turn ownership of some 20 million acres over to Utah by December 31, 2014. Utahans have also recently tried to limit federal land agencies’ ability to enforce the law, declare state jurisdiction over “mismanaged” federal forests and limit federal management of endangered species – and keep the feds from having any input on these proposals. Now, state Rep. David Lifferth is drafting a bill that would allow Utah to operate its national parks if the feds are unable to do so.
“The federal government is dysfunctional,” Lifferth recently told The Salt Lake Tribune. “We need to be prepared for any eventuality … in the event the federal government can’t live up to their obligations, we need to be prepared at a moment’s notice.”
Thus the shutdown helps push the agenda of the Sagebrush Rebellion’s children and their corporate supporters in the West. More broadly, the worse Republicans can make government operate, the more people they can convince that government is worthless and cannot be redeemed and we need to look for other answers. I’d posit that the long-term success of this program is quite evident among sections of the left that sees the government getting in the way of individual rights and turning toward anarchist methods and goals rather than central planning and socialism.