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The Progressive Silver Lining From the Shutdown Fight

no control

The country learned something very important during this shutdown. Mainly, that Speak John Boehner is a coward with no control of his caucus and an unwillingness to cross his most conservative members unless absolutely necessary. Indirectly this is great news for Social Security.

Boehner stuck with his conservative members on a strategy he know was stupid and doomed to fail. He kept fighting their fight even when it became clear it was doing real damage to the Republican Party. He only gave up at the very last minute. If Boehner was not willing to cross his conservative members on such a stupid strategy, he is probably never going to cross them on anything.

This means it is unlikely anything will get done over the next year. The Tea Party members are not interested in compromise or giving President Obama anything that looks like a victory. They want to stand up to him, not make deals.

This is bad news for priorities like immigration reform but good new for progressives on entitlements. Obama is still obsessed with getting a grand bargain that slashes Social Security benefits, but the chance of such a deal happening are close to zero.

If the Tea Party members are unwilling work with Obama to keep the government open, they are not going to agree to a grand bargain and Boehner just proved he is not going to cross his caucus.

Photo by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at