Once again, we’re moving toward a potential showdown. So once again, I’ll remind everyone of the bottom line that both sides should keep in mind if they get close to the brink: Eventually, at the end of the day, whether before or after a shutdown, there will be a bill that passes to keep the government running. It will be signed into law by Barack Obama. And it will have the support of at least some House Republicans — and be brought to the House floor by John Boehner.
I agree with Jonathan Chait that resistance to a deal is strong among Republicans, and with Brian Beutler that fighting will be more tempting than making tough choices. But the thing that Republicans need to remember (and given that they had it demonstrated to them in October, it shouldn’t be too hard) is that their choice isn’t between a deal or a shutdown; it’s between a deal or a shutdown followed by a deal.
And if Democrats had a structural advantage for winning the spin war in October, at least partially because the example of 1995-1996 seemed to fit the situation so well, the Democratic advantage is going to be even stronger given the much more recent debacle that everyone in the political press blamed on House Republicans.
All of which is why a shutdown this time would be a clear, avoidable mistake for Republicans. Granted, all of that was true back in the fall, and it didn’t stop them that time. So we’ll just have to see. But there is one clear difference: Only senior politicians in the Republican conference remembered 1995. This time around, one would think that they all would remember October.