Obama Administration Considering Government Shut-Down Strategy

Carol Platt Liebau

7/26/2013 3:33:00 PM - Carol Platt Liebau

The Washington Post reports that some Obama administration officials are pushing for a confrontational budget strategy that would likely result in a government shut-down.  In one scenario, the president would refuse to sign any funding measure that didn't roll back the sequester.

No doubt the administration officials advocating such a course are remembering the heady days of the Clinton administration, when the GOP's decision to shut down the government effectively resulted in their losing control of the narrative that had swept them to power.

But there are reasons for Democrats to be cautious; history may not repeat itself.  For one thing, Newt Gingrich's shoot-from-the-lip tendencies allowed the 1995 shut down to be portrayed as the result of his personal pique for having to deplane from the back of Air Force One. For another, Bill Clinton hadn't taken the country on a massive spending spree, or proposed budgets that do nothing more than impose hitherto unimaginable (and dangerous) levels of debt on our country for years to come.

Finally, President Obama has hurt his own credibility with specious Chicken Little claims that the sky would fall if the sequester went into effect.  What's more, don't forget that in 2011, Obama threatened to vet any attempts to undo sequester cuts (yes, of course, that was before the election!) -- and no doubt we'd hear more about that hypocrisy.

Perhaps the President intends to force a shut-down anyway, figuring that, as always, his friends in the press will deem it another "good idea" and spin it his way, thus firing up low-information voters before the the 2014 elections.  But he should bear in mind that, like the sequester (and so much else) this spring, things may not work out exactly as he hoped.