Democrats are in such a panic over the prospect of a government shutdown that President Obama spent four hours on the golf course Saturday and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told his colleagues to take the weekend off, while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi left town to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary.
Why show up for work? The Democrats are following Napoleon’s old adage: Never interfere when your enemy is in the process of destroying himself.
Obama has accused Republicans of hostage taking. Let’s be clear: I’m all for taking hostages. Both sides do it all the time. But one of the first things they teach you in Hostage Taking 101 is that you have to choose a hostagethe other side cares about saving. Obama and the Democrats don’t care about stopping a government shutdown. With a shutdown, Republicans are essentially putting a gun to their own heads and threatening to pull the trigger if the Democrats don’t capitulate. Not surprisingly, it’s not working.
Some congressional Republicans can’t seem to get it though their heads: When it comes to a government shutdown they . . . have . . . no . . . leverage. By contrast, when it comes to the debt-limit showdown, they do have leverage; while Obama can let the government close and blame the GOP, he cannot allow the United States to default.
If Republicans had taken their stand on the debt ceiling instead, there would be no weeks of bad news coverage — because the Democrats would be capitulating instead of celebrating.
Republicans are failing for one simple reason: They took the wrong hostage.