B²: Government Shutdown

Are you experiencing déjà vu?

It may feel that way as the government will run out of money at the end of this month and a shutdown is threatened…again.

Yes, we’ve been here before. In 2013 the government shutdown over funding disputes and many viewed the fallout as a failure for Republicans. No doubt the stakes are higher as we approach a very similar situation on important issues such as Planned Parenthood, the Iran Deal, and the pairing of increased funds for military programs and domestic agencies.

Some (according to their job description) need to discuss political strategy and answer the shutdown question head-on, but those who focus on policy rather than politics can get themselves in trouble if they try to do the same.

If you’re tasked with discussing policy and a reporter moves to questions of a shutdown, do you know how to defend your position without talk of the politics that want to declare you an obstructionist?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “Do you support a government shutdown?”

: “That’s for Congress to decide, but whatever the result it’s truly sad that it takes such a threat to seriously consider funding issues. <Insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, stay away from the political strategy for (or implications of) a shutdown. If your job is to research and promote certain policies, don’t deviate from doing so. Though the policy you focus on may be driving the shutdown, you can continue to talk about that policy without adding to the media narrative that paints Republicans as obstructionists.