Shutdown end game 

After another day of failed budget negotiations before Friday’s government shutdown deadline, President Obama told reporters Thursday night: “I expect an answer in the morning.” Notice how Obama attempts to put the shutdown decision into Republican hands. He has made the last offer. He “expects an answer in the morning.”

Republicans, on the other hand, have been fighting hard to keep the shutdown decision firmly on the Democrats. That is why the House of Representatives easily passed a spending bill Thursday afternoon that would cut another $12 billion from non-defense discretionary spending, fund U.S. troops through the end of fiscal year 2011, and fund the rest of government through April 15.

The White House quickly moved to dismiss the bill, issuing a veto threat and calling it a “distraction.” But Democrats are beginning to realize that a President’s threat to veto a bill that keeps the troops he just ordered into a third war paid while they fight, just might leave them politically vulnerable. After all, President Clinton cut a deal to pay the trips during the 1995-1996 shutdown. So now Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) are telling reporters that Senate Democrats are preparing their own short-term spending bill.

Any Democrat bill would be tough to get through the Senate though. Senate conservatives would definitely then demand a vote on the House temporary spending measure and Majority Leader Reid has to be worried his bill would lose again. Remember, the last time Reid allowed votes on the budget, his legislation got less votes (42) then the House bill did (44). If the Democrat bill does not pay the troops, its hard to see vulnerable Senate Democrats voting against the House bill. The decision will then firmly be back in Obama’s hands.

In other news:

  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Corrected Brookfield tally puts Prosser ahead after 7,500-vote gain: In a huge turn of events. Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced yesterday that she failed to save 14,315 votes into the right computer file. The net 7,000 plus votes gained by Justice David Prosser all but assure him victory in an election that has turned into a national proxy fight over government unions. Democrat JoAnne Kloppenburg’s loss is a huge blow to Democrats and their government union allies nationally.

  • Associated Press, General: US may consider sending troops into Libya: With multiple outlets reporting that rebels are blaming NATO for bombing their forces on the eve of their planned attack on the town of Brega, it is increasingly becoming obvious that the current level of American involvement is destined for failure. This puts Obama in a tough position: does he escalate with ground troops, or admit defeat at the hands of a third world dictator?

  • National Journal, Pew Poll: Obama Struggling With White Voters: While Obama has recaptured ground Democrats lost among well-educated white women in 2010, he has not won back any other segment of the white electorate including younger voters. Some analysts are trumpeting the 2010 Census numbers as evidence that Obama does not need white voters. But the population that the Census counted in 2010 is also the same electorate that decisively voted the Democrats out of Congress. Obama will need these voters back if he stands any chance in 2012.


Also on the web:

  • The Atlantic’s Megan Mcardle looks at the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ People’s Budget.
  • The Center for American Progress’ Matt Yglesias admits you cant balance the budget by taxing the rich.
  • PowerLine’s John Hinderaker scores a correction from The New York Times editorial board.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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