The Wall Street Journal editorial page, an important barometer of conservative thought, leads today with an editorial suggesting that a shutdown would be to President Obama’s advantage:
Inviting a shutdown sooner or later has looked to be the White House strategy since Mr. Obama unveiled his own budget in February that increased spending and dodged any serious budget reform. Our guess is that Mr. Obama’s political advisers have concluded that the lesson from Bill Clinton’s 1995 shutdown is that presidents win such showdowns. If they don’t believe this, why risk a shutdown over $7 billion and a few policy differences like funding for Planned Parenthood?….
This fits a political strategy designed to blame Republicans as reckless radicals. That said, we’re not sure what the GOP strategy is at this point, if its leaders even have one….
We understand that some in the tea party and certain cable TV hosts want a government shutdown for their own reasons. But these are the same cable pundits who insist that even though $61 billion in cuts are trivial, Republicans should still shut down the government to get them. Self-contradiction is not a sound political strategy.
I don’t know which cable TV hosts the Journal is referring to. But the top dog of conservative radio hosts, Rush Limbaugh, certainly sounded nervous yesterday:
Now, Obama has sent troops all over the world into battle, and they’re not gonna get paid, and I understand… that Boehner has a separate bill that he’s brought forth that would do nothing but compensate uniformed military personnel around the world that are tied up in these conflicts and put the pressure on the Democrats to oppose that. We’ll see what manifests itself out of that. (interruption)
Yeah, Harry Reid said it’s not acceptable. Well, that, again, tells me that the Democrats are being told by their pollsters that they are winning the shutdown PR game. If Harry Reid is gonna sit there and say, “This bill to pay the soldiers, why, not good enough.” Then they must have polling data to back up their tough stand. We’ll see, as time unfolds. [emphasis added] …
Boehner does not want to shut down the government. That’s the dirty little secret here. He’s petrified of shutting down the government. That also could be a factor in these guys’ full-court press here. Durbin and Reid now claiming that there’s definitely gonna be a shutdown, could be a ruse to panic Boehner, because Boehner basically went out and admitted that there wasn’t gonna be a shutdown.