Another key finding from this week’s Washington Post/ABC News poll:

Do you think the Republican leaders in Congress are doing too much, too little, or about the right amount to compromise with Obama on important issues?

Too much: 10

Too little: 64

About the right amount: 23

An astonishing 72 percent of independents say Republican leaders are doing too little to compromise.

Meanwhile, 49 percent of Americans, and 55 percent of independents, say Obama is doing too little to compromise with Republican leaders on important issues. Those numbers are not great among independents, obviously, but the GOP’s standing is far worse, and among Americans overall, the GOP’s standing is also far worse.

This is the political terrain upon which Republicans are set to threaten to shut down the government if Obama doesn’t agree to unwind his signature domestic accomplishment — one that has been litigated in two elections, before the Supreme Court, and in dozens of failed GOP repeal votes? And after that, on this same terrain, Republicans will then do it all over again, this time demanding Obama delay his signature domestic accomplishment and throw in a whole bunch of spending cuts, too, in exchange for agreeing to raise the debt limit? Even though John Boehner himself has already conceded that not doing this would put the full faith and credit of the U.S. government in jeopardy?

This, even though top Republicans such as the House GOP’s own pollster have already warned the party is in danger of looking incapable of governing?


We keep hearing the talking point that if Obama doesn’t agree to fund the government without funding for the Affordable Care Act included, he’ll take the blame for the ensuing shutdown. This, again, is apparently premised on the absolute conviction among conservatives that Obamacare’s unpopularity translates into support for whatever tactics are necessary to sabotage it. But when you step back from all that it’s obvious which side is heading into this series of battles in a weaker position, both in terms of which looks more willing to engage in basic governing compromises and in terms of who has the better argument.

Does anyone imagine Republicans won’t be seen as the unreasonable party here? Things will probably look even worse after the government shutdown fight. But then we’ll only be gearing up for another one in which the threat to the economy is far more serious, and the demands even crazier.

Really? This is how it’s going to go? Okay.