I wrote here that I thought the shutdown momentum was shifting. After reading Peggy Noonan’s WSJ column, I’m confident that the momentum shift is real and that Old Mo, as Don Meredith used to call it, has shifted away from President Obama and the Democrats. Here’s part of Ms. Noonan’s thoughts on why it’s shifted:
The Democratic mistake is the punitive, crude, pain-bringing shutting down of things that everyone knows don’t have to be shut down—the World War II memorial, the Iwo Jima memorial, parks, landmarks, etc. All this is part of a strategic decision to cause and ratchet up pain for normal citizens. That pain, the White House thinks, will make people hate the shutdown and therefore make them hate the Republicans who summoned it.
It is a mistake.
First, everyone knows it is the federal government that’s doing it, and the chief executive officer of that government is the president. If he didn’t want it to happen he could make it not happen. Every informed voter knows why the White House is doing it. Which means every informed voter knows they are being abused by the administration in order to make them hate that administration’s political foes.
This video shows the administration’s vindictiveness:
Kicking people out of their private homes is the epitome of petulant, vindictive behavior. There’s more:
Joyce Spencer is 77-years-old and her husband Ralph is 80. They’ve been spending most of their time in the family ice cream store since going home isn’t an option.
The Spencers never expected to be forced out of their Lake Mead home, which they’ve owned since the 70s, but on Thursday, a park ranger said they had 24 hours to get out.
“I had to go to town today and buy Ralph undershirts and jeans because I forgot his pants,” Joyce Spencer told Action News.
The Stewart’s Point home sits on federal land, so even though the Spencers own their cabin outright, they’re not allowed in until the government reopens.
This is an arbitrary choice on the government’s part. The Obama administration’s decision is intended to inflict pain on average Americans. The Spencers know that they should be able to live in their homes regardless of whether the government is shut down or not.
This is the type of story that Ms. Noonan is talking about. That’s why ‘Old Mo’ has shifted. Here’s more from Ms. Noonan:
The White House thought they’d cause pain with their strategy and the pain would redound on the Republicans. They have caused pain, but it looks to me very likely it will redound on themselves.
Republicans are taking a PR hit because of the shutdown. Still, shutting down the World War II Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial and these Lake Mead homes is something only the executive branch can do. The longer this drags on, the bigger the PR disaster this is for the Obama administration. Then there’s this:
As James Baker told me last week, the president has repeated over and over, in different venues and to different audiences, including on the phone with the speaker, that he will not negotiate. At first it looked as if he was saying he wouldn’t negotiate on ObamaCare. But he has allowed it to morph into a blanket statement that he won’t negotiate on the debt limit.
But presidents do negotiate on the debt limit. They have to. They can’t not negotiate it. And if the president keeps not negotiating, he is going to look like the man who caused a U.S. government default—an outcome of a whole other order of magnitude. He’s going to look that way because he allowed himself to look that way. And the reasons for his stand look exactly like this: miscalculation, stubbornness and pride.
My dad had a saying that President Obama apparently hasn’t learned. Dad used to say that “stupidity is what gets us in trouble. Pride is what keeps us there.” It’s time for President Obama to stop being this prideful, petulant and peevish. He’s supposed to be the leader of all Americans, not just those that agree with him.
The longer President Obama acts this petulantly, the more his brand suffers, which hastens his lame duck status.