Barack Obama promises to shut down the government for Christmas.

Barack Obama promises to shut down the government for Christmas.

Seriously, this is essentially what that ‘threat’ entails: “President Obama vowed Friday that he would not sign another short-term funding measure, pushing lawmakers to craft a long-term budget agreement.” The latest two-month continuing resolution will expire in December; and, given that Barack Obama has precisely zero control over his own party’s Congressional leaders, the safe way to bet here is that said Democratic Congressional leaders will defecate all over the bed again when it comes to an actual budget. So, really, expect another continuing resolution. And ‘threat’ is in scare quotes because I expect this announcement to be quietly forgotten, starting… oh, about ten weeks from now.

Before people start yelling about inevitable Republican betrayal and whatnot, let me remind you: Barack Obama has fifteen months left in his term. The Democrats in Congress have their own game, and it’s called ‘Avoid a Budget at all costs.’ And the GOP would absolutely love to tell the American people “Hey. Blame that guy in the White House. WE didn’t play any funding games. He was the one who decided to shut down the government and cancel Christmas.”  I mean, sure, the Republican party might in fact manage to mess up that message, but even we would have to work at it.

So I don’t know, here. I fail to see the leverage that the President has on this subject.  Mind you, if he had made this threat in 2011 and stuck to it it could have possibly worked. But that would require a certain instinct for governance that Barack Obama has never demonstrated, and at this point likely never will.

Moe Lane

PS: Seriously, I am not convinced that the GOP will cave on this one. There’s a style and a theme to the way our leadership caves, and this doesn’t really seem to fit the pattern of either.

PPS: Heck: will anybody even remember this, in December?

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