So the specifics make this an obviously good deal for Democrats — but what were Boehner and his deputies thinking in signing off on it? Are they simply stuck at this point, having already agreed to a climactic compromise last week, and desperate to get the 2011 budget off the table as The One delivers his big response to Paul Ryan tomorrow and the debate shifts to entitlements? Maybe they’re counting on the fact that the caucus simply won’t be willing to desert Boehner with a gigantic vote coming soon on the debt ceiling. He needs all the leverage he can muster to extract concessions in those negotiations with Reid and The One; if this vote collapses in the House and we end up in a shutdown with the GOP bearing the brunt of the blame, he’ll be crippled. No doubt Boehner’s selling this deal to them in those terms too, especially since Hoyer’s being cagey about how many Democratic votes will be there in the end. As much as Pelosi’s caucus might want to protect Obama by approving a compromise that he’s blessed, if they think the party can do better by letting the government shut down, they may very well decide to abandon Boehner and let him choke on the result. Gonna be an interesting couple of days.
April 12, 2011