President Barack Obama is sticking to his stance that he won’t negotiate with Republicans over the government shutdown or the higher-stakes fight over the federal debt ceiling.
The question, for Republicans and White House allies alike: How long will that resolve last?
Mr. Obama spoke Thursday at a construction company just outside Washington and held fast to his view that Republicans must not attach conditions to bills that underpin the functioning of government.
“There is one way out,” he said: Republicans must relent and reopen the government.
White House officials believe they have the upper hand, citing evidence that some Republicans are buckling under public pressure. Mr. Obama invited the four congressional leaders to the Oval Office Wednesday, and despite the show of engagement made no concessions, according to people familiar with the meeting.
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) left the White House and said Mr. Obama “reiterated one more time tonight that he will not negotiate.”
Terry Holt, a longtime Republican strategist, said Mr. Obama’s strategy rests on a cold-eyed calculation that Republicans are the ones with the most to lose. “As long as the president thinks his poll numbers are going to be good, I don’t expect the government to reopen,” he said.
Said a senior administration official: “We are winning…It doesn’t really matter to us” how long the shutdown lasts “because what matters is the end result.”
And what is that “end result”? Ultimately one-upping the GOP in the political battle, which is what this is all about to the pathetic, desperate left. It’s the GOP who has taken more political risk here by drawing a principled line in the sand because they knew the media and liberals – working in concert, as usual – would blame them, and that most people, especially low information voters, would likely buy into it. But this week hasn’t exactly proved to be a winning one for those same Democrats when you consider the WWII Memorial visit fiasco, the threats to arrest military priests as well as our Greatest Generation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s heartless comments about funding clinical trial for kids with cancer, etc. The White House and House and Senate Democrats are failing badly at the messaging war, and Boehner’s strategy of trying to pass mini-funding bills aimed squarely at groups the mainstream media would normally badger them as being “heartless” over, coupled with Harry Reid’s refusal to even entertain the idea of passing such bills, has turned the media narrative against the left for the time being. It is a sight to see – almost a Kodak moment.
This week, in summary has been a big disaster for the Pelosi/Reid/Obama Democrats, and this quote from an unnamed Park Service ranger encompasses everyone’s frustration:
The Park Service appears to be closing streets on mere whim and caprice. The rangers even closed the parking lot at Mount Vernon, where the plantation home of George Washington is a favorite tourist destination. That was after they barred the new World War II Memorial on the Mall to veterans of World War II. But the government does not own Mount Vernon; it is privately owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. The ladies bought it years ago to preserve it as a national memorial. The feds closed access to the parking lots this week, even though the lots are jointly owned with the Mount Vernon ladies. The rangers are from the government, and they’re only here to help.
“It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in Washington says of the harassment. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”
Indeed. And if it continues to go on, with Reid and Obama refusing to negotiate at the table with the GOP – which continues to strategically drum out mini-funding bills, the likelihood of more blame being shifted to Democrats on the shutdown will increase.