le·ver·age: influence or power used to achieve a desired result
Much ink has been spilled over the strategy, or lack of, the GOP has employed with the shutdown. A more fundamental error occurred before the the shut down was put into effect. Misapplying the concept of leverage. The conservative factions in the House believed they had “leverage” in causing a shut down and not raising the debt ceiling. But in determining if one has leverage, the first two questions become: (1) what does the other party want? and (2) what happens if they don’t get it?
Answering these questions reveals the errors in thinking. Obama and the Democrats want a budget/debt ceiling raise. But these are defined as congressional jobs. They are something Congress is expected to do, not something Congress has discretion to do. Put simply, the GOP House is saying their point of leverage is offering Obama to do what they are expected to do.
To the second question, what happens if you use your point of leverage, when your bluff is called. Economic catastrophe at worst, at best a serious downgrade of the US credit rating. The GOP walk away position doesn’t harm Democrats, it harms the country.
So the GOP leverage was offering Obama to do its job with a walkaway position of economic ruin. And there is wonder why they may get nothing in return for this position.
Put simply, the leadership in the house should have never conceded the debt ceiling/budget were a point of “leverage” with Obama. Once that concession was made, it would inevitably lead to what did we get in return questions during any negotiations. Which is where we are today, a GOP house expecting returns for “leverage” and Obama and the Democrats offering nothing in return since it was an illusion in the first place.
Policy disagreements aside, this is just bad strategy and rightfully deserves to fail.