Speaker of the House John Boehner

We have entered a very bizarre phase in this government shutdown saga where it is probably both too late and too early for a solution to emerge. Since Speaker Boehner didn’t deal with the shutdown right away, it is unlikely much will happen until we got close to the debt ceiling limit on the 17th. This means probably a few more days of shutdown.

It would have made sense for Republicans to stop the government shutdown from happening or put an end to it quickly. A one-day shutdown probably wouldn’t have done much political damage. Yet now that it has lasted a week the Republicans are being blamed for a long-term shutdown. The bulk of the political damage for shutting down the government has probably already occurred. Having it end after only seven days instead of twelve days shouldn’t make a huge different in 2014.

Boehner and the Republicans still have some incentive to end this shutdown quickly, but these concerns are now trumped by also needing to deal with the debt limit. Boehner is not going to ask his caucus to fold on the government shutdown tomorrow, then ask them to fold again a week later on the debt limit.

At this point his best play is to combine both issues into a single solution, but if Boehner combines them he probably needs to push both issues right up to the debt limit deadline to convince conservatives he’s fighting hard. Even if Boehner fails to get anything for Obama at least this way he would only need to ask his caucus to fold once after putting up the good fight.