Quid pro quo – this for that. It’s a Latin phrase that has come to mean negotiation: you give me this and I’ll give you that. The Republicans want something in exchange for giving a continuing resolution to fund the government, and in exchange for raising the federal debt ceiling by the 18th of this month (October 2013). They have absolutely no leverage otherwise, so you shouldn’t blame them for trying to get things done.
The Reid-Obama government shutdown is designed to keep the Republicans from accomplishing anything. They are laughing at the Republicans, and rightfully so. The Democrats are doing their best to inflict the most irritation possible on the public without doing much real harm. They’re closing parks, shutting down the Armed Forces Network so troops overseas can’t watch football, and even shutting down Fort Leavenworth’s commissary.
Most of the major TV networks and just about all of the surviving newspapers are solidly behind them, and trumpet and amplify the Democrat arguments. Republicans are blamed for the shutdown by a majority of the public, and in fact Harry Reid and Barack Obama lead the chorus, and both have explicitly said the Republicans shut down the government. Of course, Republicans are divided on the issue, which means that the divide between establishment and tea party is increased. Reid and Obama can foresee a major victory for themselves, and they don’t really care what happens during the shutdown or how long it lasts.
There is a complication: the federal debt limit expires on October 17 at midnight. A default would be embarrassing for the president, as it was in 2010. Republicans, kicked around as they are, might be reluctant to just cave and give Barry what he wants without something in return. Therein lies the problem. Negotiation on his part gives Republicans a certain degree of legitimacy. He doesn’t want that.
Also, there may be a shift in public opinion if the crisis is played out too long. They might turn on the president – after all, he’s shown no leadership, no willingness to negotiate. He has just issued ultimatums: my way, or the highway: I’ll veto anything less than exactly what I want. The Republicans, on the other hand, are sincere – always a handicap in dealing with a con man – and really are trying to get the job done as long as they can retain a shred of decency. The public might notice that. As of this date, Obama’s approval rating is only 37% according to the AP. Gallup has his job approval at 41%. The trend is: falling.
Republicans are actually asking for very little, and might buy even less. All they currently want is that the individual be given an option to buy or not buy mandated insurance for one year, while the bugs in Obamacare are sorted out. Obama waived the requirements on big business for a year, without the consent of Congress. It’s only fair that the individual mandate be delayed for a year. Republicans also want the Obamacare tax on medical devices repealed. They would probably settle for either concession.
Give me a quo, and I’ll give you a quid.