Indeed not. The surrender, when it comes, will definitely be conditional. At least enough so that Boehner can claim some sort of fig-leaf “victory.”
His point here is simple: Contra O’s demands earlier this afternoon, the House isn’t going to pass a clean CR or a clean debt-ceiling hike — not even short ones, which Obama hinted today might be enough to bring him to the bargaining table. But wait — if the (new) goal of the shutdown is to get O to negotiate and he’s now publicly agreeing to negotiate once the shutdown’s over, doesn’t that mean it’s in the GOP’s interest for the shutdown to end? Well, no, not if you think (a) that Obama’s unlikely to agree to anything meaningful without some fiscal pain to force him to and (b) that he’ll cave sooner or later and start talking to the GOP even if the shutdown’s still in effect. That’s clearly what Boehner thinks, and his candor in saying so is an amusing counter-taunt to O daring him yesterday to bring a clean CR to the House floor for a vote.
President Obama and I sat down in 2011 and had a serious negotiation.
And while the president today suggested that I walked away from the deal, I would have to remind him that I was in the Oval Office along with the majority leader, Eric Cantor, when we in fact had an agreement that two days later the president walked away from.
But there was, in fact, another negotiation in 2011 that resulted in, really, the largest deficit reduction bill that we’ve seen here in the last 30 years. But in 2010, when Democrats controlled the Congress and President Obama was in the White House, what happened was, a group of moderate Democrats in the House wouldn’t agree to raise the debt limit without a negotiation.
So there was a negotiation then amongst Democrats over raising the debt ceiling.
The long and short of it is, there is going to be a negotiation here.
You’ll cave, buddy, and we both know it. Is that, plus the point at the end of the clip below about unconditional surrender, just Boehner talking tough or does he really believe it? On the one hand, Noam Scheiber’s right that Boehner’s been known to talk a good game before folding: “The reality is that Boehner understands perfectly well that a default would be catastrophic. But because of enormous pressure from his Tea Party wing, Boehner always has to appear to be completely unrelenting up until the very last minute, at which point he relents. If the Treasury Secretary says we will default on October 17, then Boehner has to sound positively Churchillian right up until the evening of October 16, at which point he will finally break it to his troops that they have exhausted all their options.” On the other hand, his colleague at TNR, Nate Cohn, is also right that the polls on this shutdown look better for the GOP than they did during the 1995 shutdown that scared Republicans away from this tactic for nearly 20 years:
The share of voters blaming Republicans exclusively is well beneath 50 percent, suggesting that today’s persuadable voters—the key voters on the road to 50 percent—are angry at both parties. Other questions show broad dissatisfaction with both parties. A majority of voters say they disapprove of Obama’s performance on the budget; a majority of voters even say they’re “angry” with President Obama, as well as congressional Democrats.
That’s not what the polls found in the 1995-1996 shutdown, when nearly half of voters consistently put the blame on the House Republicans. And although President Clinton’s approval rating might have slipped during the shutdown, his approval ratings held near 50 percent—unlike President Obama.
That’s one of the reasons O decided to hold a presser in the first place today, of course. Public disapproval of congressional Republicans is higher than it is for him or congressional Democrats, but the “blame” question is more ambivalent than the White House would like. And Boehner knows it, which may be why he’s more inclined this time than in the past to push his luck with a default.
Nah, who are we kidding? He’ll fold. Exit question: If the new plan to pressure Boehner is to get the Senate to pass a clean debt-ceiling hike first, what will the effect on him be if/when Reid can’t get to 60 votes to make it happen? And even worse, what happens if he can’t get to 60 because some Senate Democrats are voting with the GOP?