NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 5, 2013

Plante: Who will win this Mexican standoff?

Bill Plante
Newburyport Daily News

---- — Big Freddy was grinning with creases in his overlapping chins as I joined him for coffee and whatever might follow.

“Big hit somewhere?” I asked.

“Not me - Boehner,” Freddy said.

“The Speaker of the House - a hit? He’s been striking out every time he’s been at bat,” I said.

“Because of the far right members of his party on the one hand, and Obama playing to his strength on his,” Freddy said. “Mexican standoff.”

“What have the Mexicans to do with that?” I asked.

“Old western story,” Freddy said. “Three Mexicans pointing guns at one another. One of them shoots one of the others.”

“So?” I asked.

“That leaves two,” Freddy said.

“I figured that out myself,” I said.

“One of them shoots the other, leaving himself standing,” Freddy said.

“Amazing, but what does that have to do with Boehner?”

“Who’s Boehner’s biggest pain in the you know what?” Freddy asked.

“The far right in his party,” I said.

“Correct,” Freddy said, “but they’ve already taken their shot and missed.”

“Well so has Obama, and he hasn’t missed, he had Boehner right where he wanted him right from the get go,” I said.

“No, he gave Boehner exactly what Boehner needed to be last man standing,” Freddy said.

“You really do have something besides coffee in that cup,” I said. “Obama’s going to be the last man standing in whatever it is you’re trying to say.”

“So here we are with the government shut and time running out before we hit the default button and it’s ‘Katy bar the door’ with banks and investors scrambling,” Freddy said.

“Which nobody wants,” I said.

“Exactly,” Freddy said, “and only Boehner can keep it from happening.”

“With some kind of a magic wand?” I asked.

“By facing reality,” Freddy said. “No way the House would pass a debt limit hike without enough Democrat votes to flesh out a majority.”

“But why would Democrats want to help him?” I asked.

“Democrats aren’t stupid,” Freddy said. “Boehner’s taking his shot by putting his neck on the line to keep the economy from crashing because of a major shutdown. He will need enough Democrat votes to do that, and he will get them because Democrats don’t want that to happen either.

“That’s rare and it could cost him the leadership. But considering everything that’s going on over a health care law nobody has more than a clue about, and Republicans have been making hay with it ?

“Historically, he could be the last man standing.”

Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and a staff columnist.