Rock of Gibraltar holds firm
reporter Robert Costa takes a deep (but anonymously sourced) dive into the mind of House Speaker John Boehner and his takeaway
Based on my latest conversations with insiders, their plan isn’t to eventually whip Republicans toward a clean CR and back down after a few days of messaging the shutdown, as some have believed; it’s to keep fighting, and, in the process, preserve the House GOP’s fragile unity — and maybe, if they’re lucky, win a concession from Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
According to Costa, there are definitely enough votes within the Republican conference to to pass a bipartisan funding bill that would end the shutdown, but Boehner won't allow that to happen. Boehner's motive? First and foremost, saving his own behind, says Costa:
Per his allies, his fear is, if he brings up a clean CR, he’d be seen as conceding to Reid, who’s seen as the villain of villains within the House GOP. Thirty to forty conservatives would likely revolt against such a maneuver, and so would their backers in the conservative movement. In the press, he’d likely be cheered for a profile in courage; within the House, the decision would be seen by his critics on the right as a betrayal of the highest order.
According to Costa, Boehner also wants Harry Reid and Senate Democrats to cave on something:
Pushing back against Reid and forcing him to cut a deal is another leadership objective. Behind the scenes, they’re irritated by his daily killing of anything the House passes and are eager to make sure he shares some of the political pain from the shutdown. There’s no rush to give him what he wants. Besides, many House Republicans believe Senate Democrats are only hanging with Reid on every vote because he has assured them the House GOP will break, and they think if they can incrementally put pressure on Reid’s conference, his grip could be weakened.
Keep in mind that this is just one view on what Boehner is up to. It could be completely accurate, or it might be an effort by Boehnerland to bluff through the media. Whatever the case, there's one thing that is absolutely clear: Ending the government shutdown only requires one thing—for Congress to pass the spending bills that will keep the government open. And that won't happen until John Boehner lets the House pass legislation without poison pills.
Join Daily Kos and the DCCC to tell John Boehner: End this shutdown now.