But one of the most interesting shifts is in who’s not involved: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.Just four days ago the Hill reported President Obama had handed over the reins of leadership in the government funding and the debt limit debate to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Reid was named the official negotiator and the person who will OK a deal.
Back before the government shutdown and before the fault lines of the current situation became clear, many Republicans viewed Reid, not Obama, as their most likely negotiating partner on both the continuing resolution and the debt ceiling. As evidenced by their public bickering over who wronged whom in the 2011 debt-ceiling fight this week, Speaker John Boehner and Obama do not have a history of fruitful negotiations.
As time wore on, though, Reid made clear not only that he himself wouldn’t budge, at all, on either debate, but that he was actively taking steps behind the scenes – like sidelining Vice President Joe Biden from any role – to ensure Obama toed the line as well.
The switch is a clear indication that Obama believes his refusal to negotiate strategy is beginning to hurt him. Early in the shut down he was steadfast in that strategy, even called congressional leaders to his office just to tell them he won't negotiation.
By all reports yesterday's meeting with House Republicans was attended by a different Obama one willing to listen, and now there are on-going negotiations between staffs.
The reason for the shift? His refusal to pay death benefits to the families of our heroes killed in action was a horrible PR move, that's why he shifted policy and signed a bill authorizing payment, and it's probably why he has begun those non-negotiation negotiations.