Who Did The Government Shutdown Hurt? You.

Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

As the Denver Post's Jason Blevins reported yesterday:

Rocky Mountain National Park ranked as the sixth-biggest loser among the parks and monuments shuttered during the federal government's closure last fall.

The 16-day shutdown cost Colorado's busiest national park $10.9 million, with visitation plunging 73 percent in October compared with the previous three Octobers, according to a report released Monday by the National Park Service.

The pain spilled into Estes Park, which relies mightily on park visitors spending in hotels, restaurants and shops…

And the Denver Business Journal's Caitlin Hendee:

NPS also reported Monday that the 16-day government shutdown last October resulted in 7.88 million fewer park visits nationwide than would otherwise be expected for an estimated loss of about $414 million.

That closure — and the prior flooding in Colorado, damaging many roads — resulted in a double-whammy last fall for Estes Park, the gateway city to Rocky Mountain park. Estes Park hotels had a decrease in occupancy rates by over 50 percent after the September floods…

“The flood impact [was] difficult for our residents and businesses and the closure of Rocky Mountain National Park was a huge economic blow just as we were pulling together toward recovery,” said Estes Park Mayor Bill Pinkham in an announcement last October.

Last year's shutdown of the federal government by Republicans seeking to kill or delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act, most observers agree, was an enormous political miscalculation on the part of those who supported it. That's why vulnerable Republicans like Colorado's Rep. Mike Coffman were seeking an exit–or at least rhetorical cover–only a few days into the crisis. At the same time, Colorado's congressional delegation was attempting to win federal flood relief for communities affected by last year's historic Front Range floods. The combination of these two events, in particular stories that suggested flood relief was being delayed by the shutdown, worsened the political morass in which Colorado Republicans found themselves.

And now we know the shutdown did real economic damage to Colorado communities who depend on our national parks and monuments to bring in business. Even after the state paid out of pocket to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park, the shutdown had already resulted in thousands of paying tourists changing their plans. In answer to all of the hypothetical (and often fictional) economic pain Republicans insist is about to be visited on the people of America from "Obamacare," here is real pain. Inflicted needlessly on real people.

By the four guys you see at the upper right of this post: Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn. Gardner and Coffman are now among the highest-profile Republican candidates in the nation. Polling has consistently shown that the public blame House Republicans for the shutdown.

Folks, if the absolutely devastating attack ads that write themselves from this story aren't obvious to you yet, politics just may not be your thing. Messaged right, this is a potent counterattack on "pro business" Republicans like Gardner. It's harder, or at least it should be harder, to call yourself "pro business" after costing real businesses in your own state millions of dollars.

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ModeratusModeratus says:

    Cool hit piece, bros.

    Just one problem: between the shutdown and today, Republicans have been proven right about the historic disaster that is Obamacare. Now the country knows why Republicans were doing everything in their power to stop it.

    Put that in your "devastating attack ad." Those will be Gardner's against Udallcare.

    • ct says:

      Which is why they invent fake stories about it.  

    • Republican 36 says:

      You need to look at the economic news this morning. The uptick in the economy in January is because of Obamacare. I'm on the run to anothe rmeeting at the moment so I'll post the article later. The Republicans were wrong.

    • horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

      Republicans used to offer a contrasting economic policy.  Now all they can offer is an unnecessary temper tantrum with damaging economic consequences because for some crazy reason they are in charge of something.  How sad.

    • ParkHill says:

      I missed the part about Obamacare being a disaster.

      10 million people now have healthcare through Obamacare, including many people with pre-existing conditions. Women now pay the same price as men in their same age group. Insurance companies can't dump you if you get sick. No more lifetime limits! 

      On the other side of the coin, 5 million people FAILED to get Obamacare in Republican states that rejected the medicare expansion.

      That looks like a lot of success for Obamacare and a big fat FU from Republicans.

      • horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

        ParkHill, I think the pendulum will continue to swing in favor of Obamacare as more people sign up and get real, actual coverage as a result.

        The most annoying thing though, is, the 5 million who failed to get Obamacare in Republican states that rejected the medicare expansion will blame it on Obama.  Their R teabaggy leaders piss on their legs and tell them its raining, and they reward them with another term in office.  "  look, the part of Obamacare that I helped make a mess is a mess ! "  It dosen't resemble leadership in any way.

    • DawnPatrol says:

      Was your divorce from reality painful?

      Who got custody of your honor, decency, intelligence, morality and ethics? Clearly not you.

      Liar.

      • ModeratusModeratus says:

        Really? Right after the shutdown, everyone realized that the Obamacare rollout was a disaster just like Republicans predicted. Now, Republicans are going to take back the Senate and expend our majority in the House.

        How has the shutdown hurt Republicans?

        • BlueCat says:

          ACA isn't the roll out.  You say Obamacare is a disaster but you don't say why.  There was also no big change in polling on ACA after the roll out. So not much evidence that it caused the epiphanies you ascribe to it. Please look at polls before and after. Please look at something, anything factual before stating  things as facts.

    • BlueCat says:

      Please provide some factual back up, not just another rightie dishonest or minimally (but not enough to prove any salient point) honest anecdote, to demonstrate that ACA is an historic disaster. In the meantime I'll provide an interesting link to an article analysing evidence of just one of ACA's very positive effects, an economic one:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/04/obamacare-january-bea_n_4892267.html

    • itlduso says:

      A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Obamacare is now an electoral wash.  36% would be less likely to vote for a congressional candidate who supports the ACA, 34% would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the ACA, and 27% said it would make no difference.  That compares with November poll results that found 37% less likely to vote for a candidate that supports the ACA, 21% more likely to vote for the candidate, and 40% who didn't care.  In other words, there was a 16% negative gap in November and only a 2% negative gap now. 

      The GOP is going to regret the relentless attacks on Obamacare come November.

  2. ModeratusModeratus says:

    This issue, like all others, will split along partisan lines. There are plently of flood victims who supported the fight against Obamacare, and the flood didn't change their mind.

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