With the Republican-controlled House of Representatives engaged in a tense, government-shuttering budgetary standoff against a Democratic president and Senate, the Republican Party is now viewed favorably by 28% of Americans, down from 38% in September. This is the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992.
Dems are down too, but they remain in the 40s, so they are in a much stronger position. This response
from Taylor Marsh seems common:
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen my back and forth recently with CNN’s Jake Tapper. Yesterday he suggested to Senator Durbin that now that Congress and President Obama are locked in a standoff on the GOP generated shutdown, it’s the president who should offer Speaker Boehner a way out. Tapper isn’t the only television journalist with this problem, but as I tweeted him in response, President Obama bailing out Boehner has repercussions for presidents who come after Obama, and any House speaker, threatened by the minority.
There's truth in this. The American people don't want congressfolk to fight in this fashion, and nobody can respect a president who negotiates with a gun to his head.
The parallel that comes to my mind (perhaps because I've been reading so much about that era) is the Cuban Missile Crisis. JFK took his no-negotiations stance to almost insane levels, since what the Russians wanted was actually pretty reasonable -- a pledge not to invade Cuba and removal of obsolete missiles in Turkey. In fact, Kennedy did offer both of those items, but very secretly. In public, he waited for the other guy to blink.
The public respected what he did. Maybe they shouldn't
have respected his approach (we can have the debate at another time) but no-one can deny that the public admired his perceived strength and inflexibility.
At this stage in our current stand-off, the Republicans are very close to blinking. They know that the public doesn't like the way they are doing business.
If Obamacare is such a bad law, then the citizenry will vote for a congress that will end it. If Congress doesn't want to pay for a program, the legislators should have that discussion while the program is being debated
-- not after passage. And if the Tea Partiers want rid of Social Security and Medicare -- well, teabagger madness would end, for once and for good, one week after the checks stopped showing up in Grandma's mailbox.
There are plenty of indications that the GOP will soon blink
Republican Party leaders, activists and donors now widely acknowledge that the effort to kill President Obama’s signature initiative by hitting the brakes on the government has been a failure. The law has largely disappeared from their calculus as they look for a way out of the impasse over the shutdown and for a way to avoid a possible default on U.S. debt.
And there's this
“What the president said today was, if there is unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us,” said Boehner.
The thing is, it might be Boehner’s best and only option for ending the standoff that has seized Washington.
Under the circumstances, the best the GOP can hope for is a one-to-two month debt ceiling extension. This move would pretty much force Obama to the negotiating table. And at that point...
...at that point, the JFK metaphor breaks down.
If Boehner blinks now -- a short blink, an eight-week blink -- Obama will have to deal. There will be a lot of pressure on him to blink Obamacare away.
Will he do it? Maybe. He's no JFK.