House Speaker John Boehner at a press conference on Friday morning, answering a question about what it will take for Republicans to reopen the government:
Listen, the issue right now is the continuing resolution to open the government, and all we're asking for is for Harry Reid to appoint conferees so we can sit down and have a conversation about bringing fairness to the American people and getting government open.
That was Boehner's entire answer, from start to finish. To end this shutdown, all he wants is for Senate Democrats to agree to sit down and negotiate a budget with him. Almost sounds reasonable, right?
Problem is, on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered to do exactly what Boehner said he wanted—to appoint conferees to a House-Senate conference committee to resolve budget differences between the two chambers—but Boehner said no anyway.
Why did Boehner say no? Because Reid attached one condition to his offer: The government would have to reopen during the negotiations. Boehner couldn't live with that, so he said no.
In other words, when John Boehner says the only thing Republicans want is for Senate Democrats to agree to negotiations, he's not telling the truth. What he wants is for Senate Democrats (and President Obama) to agree to negotiate while House Republicans have a metaphorical gun to the country's head. And the fact that he can't come up with an honest way of articulating that position is a pretty clear indicator that even he knows just how weak it really is.
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