Rich Galen

In Washington, I thought - up until yesterday afternoon - that the chances for a government shut-down were near zero. Now I think a shut-down is likely. Speaker John Boehner has proposed a two-week extension of the temporary spending bill which cuts $2 billion in spending. Senate Majority Leader Harry has insisted that an extension be at current spending.

Harry Reid needs to take a drug test. He thinks that, because he won re-election against the weakest possible candidate, he has a national mandate.

He doesn't.

If Reid digs in and refuses to bring the House bill to the floor, the government will shut down and here's what he needs to understand:

(1) Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.

(2) John Boehner is no Newt Gingrich

During the shutdown fight of 1996 the Clinton White House drove home the mantra that Gingrich was cutting funds from "Medicare, Medicare, Education, and the Environment."

They said that about a thousand times a day, every day.

And, they had the advantage of blaming Newt for these cuts (which were not cuts but reductions in the rate of growth).

Obama's communications shop is not worthy of a State Senator from Illinois, much less the White House. They have not been able to drive a message for more than 11 seconds since they took office.

They have not made Speaker Boehner into the "enemy of the people," a role in which the Clintonistas had cast Newt.

Maybe the only way out of this is to call in the Ghostbusters. And, don't cross the streams.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at