The Shutdown of '95-'96: 'Silliest Washington Squabble in Memory'

The Honolulu Advertiser

The federal government's partial shutdown this week has triggered tremendous media scrutiny and contributed to an intense national debate over the country's political and spending priorities.

It is, after all, the first time the government has shut down since a 21-day period in late 1995 and early 1996, a then record-setting impasse between Congress and the White House.

The previous shutdown is remembered today mostly as a victory for President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, over the Republican-controlled Congress led by Sen. Bob Dole (who Clinton would defeat in the 1996 presidential election) and especially over Speaker Newt Gingrich, who rocketed to fame in the 1994 midterm election and flamed out at the tail-end of the Monica Lewinsky scandal four years later.

But how did Hawaii do during the shutdown? Did we freak out over the closure of the USS Arizona Memorial, for example? Did our Democratic Party delegates in Congress condemn their GOP counterparts?

A look through the local newspaper archives reveals that the ’95-’96 shutdown was fairly mild — at least as seen from our newspapers.

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