Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Politico last night:

John Boehner: Democrats 'win' in government shutdown

Speaker John Boehner is warning his Republican colleagues that Democrats would "win" a government shutdown and the GOP would suffer a political catastrophe if the federal government runs out of money at the end of this week.

"The Democrats think they benefit from a government shutdown. I agree," Boehner said during a closed-door, 90-minute meeting on House Republicans on Monday night, according to several lawmakers who attended the session....

Hot Air's Allahpundit, from the right, offers this interpretation:

Three possibilities. One: It's all lies, concocted to weaken Boehner's hand at a critical moment in negotiations. Two: It's true, and is being leaked by Boehner's allies in the caucus to warn the base that they might be steering us off a cliff before Paul Ryan's epic budget has had a fair shake publicly. Three: It's true, and is being leaked by Boehner's opponents in the caucus to warn the base that he's going wobbly and that they should keep up the pressure for deeper cuts.

Let me offer a fourth possibility: Boehner knows a shutdown is likely, so he's leaking (or some Republican is leaking) a soundbite that frames Democrats as the people trying to make this happen, for political gain. The public, after all, is prepared to split the blame so far. The public (teabaggers excepted) wants compromise, but most Americans have no idea how much Democrats have compromised already. So this line (which Republicans will all parrot once the government is shut down) can absolutely frame the debate, portraying Democrats as the bad guys.


I've been intrigued by Zandar's notion that Republicans really won't shut down the government, primarily because their corporate masters don't want it to happen. Zandar's most recent post on this is here. He thinks Republicans won't need to do it because Democrats keep giving them everything they want, even when the goalposts get moved -- though the incessant goalpost-moving suggests that Republicans don't want to declare victory, right?

I wonder if Zandar is partly right. John Boehner and the graybeards quoted in the Politico article I linked above say they don't want a shutdown; they say they fear Republicans will be blamed. I think if they're sincere about wanting to dodge a shutdown, it's because the fat cats don't want it, as Zandar says. On the other side, of course, are teabag types who are itching to shut it all down.

But what about a brief shutdown? Could Boehner give the crazies what they crave, sating their thirst for anarchy, while wrapping it all up, say, over the weekend, or in a few business days, before our financial overlords get cranky?

That's my prediction. (Well, that and a lot more Democratic capitulation along the way.)

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