Why Obama is unlikely to compromise

President Obama has thus far refused to entertain the idea of a compromise with House Republicans that would avoid a government shutdown. From all that appears, he won’t even negotiate.

The primary reason for his refusal is political. He believes that the public will place primary blame on Republicans, thereby giving his presidency and his Party some needed much needed momentum.

Frankly, I think Obama is probably right about this.

Party politics aside, Obama is loath to accede to Republican demands to modify his signature legislative accomplishment — Obamacare. So that’s a second reason why he hasn’t been willing to negotiate, much less compromise.

But there may be a third reason why Obama refuses to negotiate. He probably believes, and in essence has said, that it would set a bad precedent for him, and for the president in general, to be coerced by the threat of a government showdown into agreeing to legislative modifications that cannot otherwise carry the day in Congress. After all, if a shutdown produces modifications in Obamacare, why won’t we see a government shutdown anytime one chamber of Congress badly wants to revisit this or that piece of significant legislation, but lacks the votes to accomplish it through regular procedure?

Frankly, I think Obama is probably right about this.

UPDATE: President Obama reportedly called Speaker Boehner this evening, and the two talked for about ten minutes.


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