Obama’s shutdown mistake


President Obama earned a mental high-five from me yesterday. After meeting with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Obama strode into the White House press briefing room and said that he would meet with them every day until a budget deal was sealed and a shutdown averted. “If they can’t sort it out,” he said, “then I want them back here tomorrow.”

Well,as we all know, Boehner and Reid couldn’t sort it out. And if you read my last post about the Rev. Al Sharpton, you know that the president wasn’t even in Washington for most of the day.

Pardon my language, but the president squandered what was a badass move. Republicans gleefully seized the opportunity to poke Obama once more for appearing disengaged and to make him look as if he was putting more effort into politics and his reelection than ensuring that the federal government stays open for the benefit of the American people. But late this afternoon, the White House announced that Obama, Boehner and Reid would be meeting tonight at 8:45 p.m. after the president returns from New York. That’s literally right after he steps off Marine One. So he and the Democrats can still hope that today’s earlier misstep will be forgotten in the shutdown-blame showdown. Assuming there is a shutdown.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.
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