The Washington Post

Pundits buy the floor show

Flip through the cable news shows or peruse the left blogosphere and everywhere liberal pundits, supposed Beltway sophisticates, will be hollering, “shutdown!” It’s really a shocking lack of skepticism for people who tout their political instincts and inside knowledge.

Greg Sargent is an exception. He’s got it figured out:

Specifically, the closer Boehner brings us to the brink of a shutdown now, the easier it will be for him to sell any eventual compromise to conservatives later.

If a compromise is reached, Boehner can credibly tell conservatives in his caucus that by allowing the threat of a shutdown to loom as large as possible, for as long as possible, he did all that was humanly within reach to extract maximum concessions from Democrats. After all, it’s widely known that the White House does not want a shutdown, because it will hamper the recovery and because Obama is hoping to preside over a deal, just as he did on tax cuts, in the quest for independent voters.

Bingo! Listen, there are already enough votes for the continuing resolution to pass the House, because Boehner if need be can go to Democrats to get the votes. It’s all about making the freshmen feel as if Boehner gave it his all (and he did). Now, to be fair, both Obama and Boehner are playing this up with the White House visits and furrowed brows when they emerge. I sort of suspect that Obama and Boehner are assigning each other sound bites and deciding how close to the wire they want to play this. There is nothing wrong with that; both are trying to get the best deal and both are acting responsibly in preventing an actual shutdown. In fact, unlike 90 percent of the media, are behaving like seasoned pros.

Oh, and the Speakers office just put out a statement: “The Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader sat down privately and had a productive discussion. They agreed to continue working on a budget solution.” Bad news for the hand-wringers.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.


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