Commentary Magazine


The Hilarious and Twisted Politics of the Budget Showdown

This morning, Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican, went before the microphones to discuss the negotiations over the budget. He said that he and the Democrats represented by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the White House had been closer to agreement last night on a measure to forestall the government’s running out of money on Friday than they were this morning

Of course things were better last night. Doubtless polling came in this morning that confirmed the polling that’s already been showing this debate moving in the direction of the Democrats. Though in point of fact the government will only be shut down if Democrats refuse to agree to legislation voted by the Republican House, apparently the American people will be inclined to blame the shutdown on the Republicans. And Democrats know that the activist base of the Republican party already believes the budget cuts Boehner is aiming for—$40 billion—are too low.

It’s a sweet spot for Democrats, in other words. They get to shut down the government and convince the American people that it’s actually the Republicans who are shutting down the government; or they will force the Republicans to move in their direction. The only problem is the government shutdown itself.