Krauthammer had some solid points on O’Reilly last night concerning the question of whether or not a government shutdown is actually helpful or hurtful to the Obama administration’s overall image as well as to their grand opening of the health care law; President Obama’s second term has not been going particularly well by any means, and the shutdown gives him something very tangible with which he can easily revert to the ol’ reliable “spiteful, obstructionist, uncompromising Republicans” tack that’s worked so well in the past. Plus, as an added bonus, the “supine media” will largely follow the White House’s lead in depicting the whole episode as as purely the fault of Republicans (because, as we all know, the new definition of “compromise” is Republicans giving in to whatever the president wants, or something), and shutdown stories will take up a lot of media space that would have been otherwise occupied by the ObamaCare rollout. Via RCP:
He is not going to give in because this is not going to give him political advantage. This is a lifeline for an administration that’s drowning. His numbers are low, the administration is in disarray, humiliated abroad, an economy stuck in the mud at home. He really has got nowhere to go. I think they have been hoping for a shutdown because Obama then gets to go on the stage and to give all that stuff that you showed in your introduction. ‘This is a law of the land, I’m upholding the law,’ except for one thing: It’s completely lawless. He unilaterally changed about 17 provisions in the law after it was passed. … You are not allowed to do that under our system. And then he says that the Republicans are the ones who are being unreasonable because they want to amend another provision. And as you pointed out, Obama already suspended it for the big guys, for big business you get a year of grace, but if you are a little individual, you don’t get anything. … The strategy I would have chosen would have been to do nothing right now. Allow it to go into effect. The stories in the press tomorrow instead of being about the glitches, the disasters, the people who can’t sign up, all the contradictions as you said — the honor system that you have to rely on, computers that cannot calculate what your premium is, what your subsidy is. Instead of the story being about how unwieldy and impossible is the bill, it’s going to be all about a shutdown, about the panda cam at the National Zoo shutdown over the government shutdown. It’s the wrong story.