How does one win a game of chicken? You know, two guys in ’54 Fords, Rebel Without a Cause style, drive straight toward a cliff. The guy who swerves first loses. If nobody swerves, they both die (bummer!). The trick is to persuade the other guy that you won’t swerve, so what if you tell him that your pedal is stuck on the medal and the brakes don’t work? He know he has to swerve or die. So he’ll swerve.
The government shutdown is a game of chicken. We’re waiting to see who will swerve. And here’s how you can tell who’ll do so. It’s the party that tries to ease the pain. The Republicans, in short. So long as the Dems try to inflict the most pain, they think they’re winning.
And if you think that inflicting pain would bother them, where have you been? It’s been a winning ticket for them.
Still, it’s a high risk strategy, and the Republicans, doomed to play a losing hand when they take on an imperial presidency, are wise to seek to ease the pain. Their only chance is the possibility that the Dems will overlay their hand, and be seen to be wholly malicious.