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Yesterday I asked why the three camps in Washington – the House Republican Bigwigs in Washington, the House Republican Conservatives in Washington, and President Obama –couldn’t sit down and make a list of the government departments they can agree to keep open and then fund them this week to avoid an absolute government shutdown.
Then, at their leisure, they could fight it out over funding the rest of the government – while the rest of us go happily on with our lives.
I expect the answer to that question may be as plain as the nose on your face: The two Republican camps in Congress, since they are less enamored of government, would be happy to fund parts of the government and let the rest lie fallow for a while. They might get a few less new jets (and a few less defense contracts for their districts) than they’d like, and there’d be a few unhappy farm State Republican Congressmen, but by and large they’d be pretty content.
The same is not true of the President.
He’s in a harder spot: If he does not get ObamaCare funded now, with the threat of a government shutdown hanging in the air, chances are he won’t get it at all. Not this year. And maybe not next year. And, even then, he’d have to win an election and put a majority of his allies in the House first.
Which of course is exactly the cure for gridlock our forefathers had in mind when they created our clunky, clanky, three headed lump of a government.
So the President has to use the threat of a government shutdown to force Congress to give him ObamaCare and the more complete and painful the shutdown appears to be, the more likely he is to hear Congress say, Uncle.
Of course, that still sounds like Obama faces an against-the-odds fight, but he has a pretty fair chance of winning for one reason: John Boehner.
The Speaker of the House is the master Washington Insider – but he’s no warrior. Political combat is not his cup of tea. And the minute he climbs into the ring with Obama, well, the President may be soft-spoken and polite – but there’s pure warrior blood flowing through his veins.


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