Can police officers guarding closed national monuments be anything more than a shameless political stunt? For the skeptical, the following data points might be helpful. First, while I don't have first-hand knowledge, there were supposedly no armed guards on duty the last time there was a government shutdown. Nor are there typically multiple guards, on horseback or otherwise, congregated around the Lincoln Memorial.
However, there have been officers on horseback in front of the Lincoln Memorial at least some of the time since the shutdown. In addition to these officers, who need to be paid and supervised, there were crews (which also cost money) putting up barricades all last week around various National Mall attractions.
Some people call the government shutdown democracy in action under the premise that a minority has been able to hold up the governmental process. Others have derided the Tea Party contingent for putting everything from credit ratings to livelihoods in jeopardy. Even those of the latter persuasion will have to admit that spending money to prove a point when spending has supposedly been suspended is shameless and petty. Are there no grown-ups left in DC?