Mike Needham

Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a less than ideal situation because of the Left's politically motivated obstructionism. However, it is also an opportunity that Congress must seize, especially if it is to repair its relationship with the American people.

Americans understand that Democrats control the Senate, and Majority Leader Harry Reid is not only a big-government liberal, but also a partisan political animal who will stop at nothing to ensure Republicans fail.

Americans also understand President Obama has been entirely absent from the debate. As his press secretary said, “it's a hard job.” Sure, we get that. But he was elected because he said he could do the hard things. Americans now understand he cannot even do the little things. His own party is asking him to "engage" on budgetary issues. When 32 Senators from your own party ask you to engage, you have problems.

The President's dereliction of duty is carefully planned though, and most certainly politically motivated. He's biding his time, filling out his NCAA bracket, and waiting for his Senate colleagues to force a shutdown. Then, President Obama will re-emerge and play the role of Washington peacemaker. He'll offend his base by offering some small cuts, he'll bring the "non-fringe" elements of Washington together and declare victory. The President's advisors remember how his popularity grew after the December tax deal, and they are doing their best to replicate that success.

For Senate Democrats and the President, partisan politics is the name of the game.

President Obama and his crew are betting misguided Republican fear over a government shutdown will cause Democrats to win on the politics and the policy. That would be a disastrous turn of events.

What are conservatives and Republicans to do? This week, they need to tell their constituents that the time (if there ever was one) for short-term funding measures has passed. Then, they need to make sure their constituents understand that President Obama and Harry Reid are totally absent from a debate that will shape the country we leave to our grandchildren. By and large, Americans understand Democrats are not acting in good faith. In fact, they're acting in bad faith – and we shouldn't be afraid to say it.

Mike Needham

Mike Needham is the Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action for America, a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to advancing legislation that promotes freedom, opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.