Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a new offer for House Speaker John Boehner: End the government shutdown and then let's talk like adults. Reid delivered his proposal in a letter
to Boehner that opened like this:
Dear Mr. Speaker,
I hated the Iraq war. I think I hated it as much as you hate the Affordable Car Act. [...] In those days, when President Bush was Commander in Chief, I could have taken the steps that you are taking now to block Government funding in order to gain leverage to end the war. I faced a lot of pressure from my own base to take that action. But I did not do that. I felt it would have been devastating to America. Therefore, the Government was funded.
As you can tell, Reid's offer—while sincere—is not the capitulation that Republicans were hoping for. Instead:
Before the House you you have the Senate-passed measure to reopened the Government, funded at the level that the House chose in its own legislation. I propose that you let this joint resolution pass, reopening the Government.
So step one is for Boehner to stop holding the government hostage. So far, so good. In exchange, here's what Reid is offering:
I commit to name conferees to a budget conference, as soon as the Government reopens.
Boehner, as you may recall, didn't even make his demand that Reid appoint conferees until an hour before he shut the government down. But back when the shutdown wasn't looming, he rejected
18 separate requests from Senate Democrats to have a conference committee. Now that the government is shut down, however, Boehner says he wants to negotiate.
The great thing about Reid's offer is that while it actually offers nothing that Boehner wants, it does offer what Boehner says he wants. And the only way Boehner can make the case that Reid's offer isn't really an offer is to admit that he was insincere about wanting to have a conference committee in the first place. And that brings us back to to the reason where in this situation in the first place: A group of lunatic Republicans convinced themselves that shutting down the government would defund Obamacare and John Boehner didn't have the political skills to work around them.