Washington Briefs

Washington Briefs

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.


Both sides in the stand-off over the past 10 days knew that they would end up exactly where they are today.  The Republicans ended up with enormous ill-will heaped upon them as a result of the government shut-down; so much so that they are almost crawling into the White House to negotiate with the President.  Obamacare will remain whole although taxes on medical devices may be delayed; the debt ceiling will be kicked down the road until a week before Thanksgiving (a very bad idea and hitting the holiday season); and the Government will be back in business at some time next week with budget discussions to proceed with dispatch; whatever that will mean.

The results show the Republican Party lost.  Any way you wish to slice it the Republican Party is being blamed for the shut-down—which is the piece most visible to the public.  The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows just how bad the numbers are for a Party that might well have had a chance to gain control of the Senate in 2014.  The most interesting election and first public indication of the effect of the shut-down will be in the gubernatorial election results in Virginia between the State’s Attorney General Ken Cuccunelli and businessman and former Clinton best friend fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe on November 5.

Speaker Boehner

Perhaps the GOP could have avoided the fight and maybe have moved forward if the Speaker had confronted his right-wing directly and early.  He also might have been able to save his speakership for another day. Having opted not to fight, Boehner was left to defend the strategy of trying to kill Obamacare, which he knew was an absolute legislative impossibility. Now with plenty of egg on his face, Boehner will also face an embarrassing time until the next House election of its new leaders in January 2015 where he may well fail to get support from his left as well as the right.


There was a thought going around that Wall Street and the financial community were going to really try to put the Republicans back on track from the Tea Partyers by threatening to seriously dry up support for their campaigns in 2014.  This was before they recognized that the pockets of some of the right wing supporters for the Tea Party dwarf  Wall Street’s potential campaign coffers; thus making the Democrats potential winners of Wall Street’s largesse.

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