I guess you could say John Boehner is the big winner today. A government shutdown would have been disastrous for Republicans. But what did he win? Not much. The public isn’t going to give him credit for reining in his base, nor should they. That’s his job. And the teabaggers aren’t going to be so pliable next time. Not with Eric Cantor waiting in the wings, vulture-like.
In terms of deficit reduction, the whole exercise was a joke. Thirty billion, sixty billion, even a hundred billion in discretionary spending — chump change. None of the expensive stuff — tax giveaways, bloated defense budgets, skyrocketing health care costs — was on the table. That’s all for later, when the Republican Party’s radical agenda will be on full display.
The question is, will Democrats play hardball? They’d better.