(Powerlineblog) -- In any negotiation, the key question is, what is the default status? That is, what happens if you don’t make a deal? If you are negotiating a business transaction (e.g., a merger), the default status is that the transaction doesn’t occur and the parties walk away. If you are trying to settle a lawsuit, the default status is that the case goes to trial and both parties take their chances. Where the default status is more favorable to one party than the other, that party has bargaining power.
With respect to the government shutdown–i.e., negotiations over a continuing resolution that will fund federal operations on a temporary basis–the default status is that a portion of the government, presumably a growing portion, remains closed down. That default status is unacceptable over any considerable length of time, and it is not favorable to Republicans. Despite the Obama administration’s blunders, voters are more likely to blame Republicans than Democrats for perceived adverse effects. It is therefore not surprising that President Obama refuses to negotiate with respect to the shutdown. He is not bluffing.
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