Newt: Selling Out Is Worse Than Shutting Down 1995 government shutdown was no catastrophe, writes Gingrich By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Feb 27, 2011 6:05 AM CST 35 comments Comments Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that Republicans should stick to their principles, even if it means shutting down the government. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File) (Newser) – The Republican leadership should stick to its guns regarding the budget, even if that means shutting down the government—which wouldn't be the worst thing, argues Newt Gingrich. Writing for the Washington Post, he points to the government shutdown of 1995 as an event worth imitating. While many regard that as a "disastrous mistake" that cost the GOP dearly, the "facts are exactly the opposite." Sure, there was some pain, but the shutdown "set the stage for a budget deal that led to the largest drop in federal discretionary spending since 1969" and ultimately led to a balanced-budget deal in 1997. As for the GOP, it was reelected to a House majority for the first time in 68 years in 1996. "Neither these historic achievements nor this historic win would have been possible had Republicans not stood firm and showed the country that we were serious about keeping our commitments." So House Republicans should definitely to work to keep the government open ... "unless it requires breaking your word to the American people and giving up your principles." Because when all is said and done, "becoming one more promise-breaking, Washington-dominated, sellout group is a much worse fate—politically and ethically—than having the government close for a few days."