Byron York

A few weeks ago Washington was buzzing with predictions that Republicans will impeach President Obama.

More recently, Washington has been buzzing with predictions that Republicans will shut down the government.

Both have come mostly from Democrats facing long odds in November's midterms, hoping the GOP might do something suicidal before voters go to the polls. For them, sheer ecstasy would be Republicans shutting down the government while keeping House offices open to draft articles of impeachment.

The only problem is, well-connected Republicans insist it's not going to happen.

House Speaker John Boehner appeared to settle the impeachment question last month when he called all the talk a "Democratic scam" and added, "We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans."

So the subject changed to a shutdown. It's a more substantial accusation; after all, House Republicans have never impeached Barack Obama, but they have shut down the government. But it appears there's little or nothing to the shutdown talk, either.

The government runs out of money at the end of September, so Congress will have to pass a continuing resolution by then to keep it running. The rumors are that if Obama takes some sort of far-reaching action on immigration, as is widely expected, infuriated Republicans will retaliate by threatening to close the government unless Obama backs down. Obama, protected by a Democratic Senate, will of course not back down, and a shutdown will ensue.

At least that's the scenario. I asked one plugged-in, senior GOP adviser whether there was any chance -- any chance at all -- that would happen. His one-word response: "No."

An equally senior GOP aide added: "We are not going to shoot ourselves in the foot and jeopardize our chances of winning the Senate and gaining seats in the House."

In his new book, The Way Forward, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan calls last year's shutdown a "suicide mission" and says the GOP's shutdown strategy was "flawed from beginning to end."

"Wow," Ryan remembers thinking as the shutdown became a reality. "This can't be the full measure of our party and our movement. If it is, we're dead, and the country is lost."

That doesn't sound like a man contemplating another shutdown.


Byron York

Byron York, chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner