Don’t believe a word of it. Obama really just wants to avoid having to go through another battle before Election Day. His rejection of the Boehner Plan has nothing to do with the markets or the economy. It is purely political.
He’s desperate to avoid having to face this issue again. He’s lost ten points in job approval over the battle so far and he wants to get out of town before he loses more.
So the Republican message to Harry Reid is simple: If you want more debt authority so that it takes us to the end of the year, come up with more cuts. Not phony cuts in military spending but real cuts scored by the Congressional Budget Office.
The Boehner Plan gives Republicans a good place to stand. If a government shutdown eventuates because Reid won’t put up extra cuts or because Obama wants to punt this issue until after the election, then they will incur massive blame from the voters.
And remember one thing: Obama has no choice. He can’t let default take place for two reasons: 1) It would make him look weak and hurt his presidency dramatically; and 2) It would be evident that the shutdown is not the disaster he has been predicting and he would be caught crying “wolf.”
Republicans should sit back, after passing the Boehner Plan and make the Democrats and the president come to them. Obama is stuck and Republicans should take advantage of his lack of maneuverability. They already have the key concession: Reid agreeing to a cuts-only approach. With that concession in their pockets, they should play a waiting game that Obama cannot match.
Always remember that no matter how much the public may not like intransigence by House Republicans, it is Obama who is suffering by this issue. If Obama and Boehner turn off the public by their fencing and maneuvering, so be it. Obama is running for president and Boehner is not. Boehner can afford to take the hit. Obama can’t.