At 12:01 tonight, the government may shut down.
Unless the Teabaggers blink. Personally, I believe they will, because a four year taste of power is far too juicy to risk over the wrath of the nation once people realize that assistance checks like Social Security will still be mailed, SocSec offices will be shut (so if your check gets lost or screwed up, you won’t be able to correct them right away,) as will parks, monuments, and a whole passel of other things that will just piss people off, even in the deepest red of red states.
What the President and Democrats need to do is to hammer home the message that Teabaggers forced this out of a drunken rage. The more they can paint that wing(nuts) of the Republican party as people way out of touch with an electorate who wants Obamacare, the more likely it is they will have to cave in.
My best guess?
It’s really hard to predict precisely when and how the Teabaggers cave. Part of me believes that, if Boehner can find a way to placate them with some fruitless gesture (I personally thought Ted Cruz’s fauxlibuster was that) then this will never happen.
A larger part of me believes the Teabaggers want an actual shutdown, albeit one of really short duration (like, say, overnight.) This will give them a symbolic gesture to throw down in the 2014 campaign, and even Boehner could claim credit for getting them to give up after the shutdown. This is the most likely scenario, in my book: Boehner is in real danger of losing the Speakership next January, and he comes off looking both sympathetic to Teabaggers and heroic to the mainstream GOP.
But a small part of me believes the Teabaggers have this action-hero-ideal that they will get everything they ask for by extorting the Obama administration as well as the Republican party.
I omitted the Congressional Democrats for a reason. They lose nothing under any scenario. If the government shuts down, it will be the Republicans fault (or Obama’s, if you’re stupid enough to believe the FOX News talking points), and if it doesn’t shut down, Harry Reid will get signal credit for standing tall and calling the Teabaggers bluff.
Either way, be prepared for a Hillary (or other Democrat) presidency for eight years in 2016.