Still, it is true that the Obama administration is winning the zero-sum contest. One way to measure this is polling, which already shows movement toward the Democratic side. Another way to measure it is that Republicans, who have spent months refusing any budget deal, are suddenly desperate to make a budget deal. A flurry of Republican proposals have been leaked or floated by or to Politico, Jonathan Ward, and Republican adviser Yuval Levin.
Republicans are looking to make a budget deal now because they want to escape the political nightmare they’ve created for themselves. They blustered into a shutdown that corrodes their party brand and cracks the door to flip the House, which ought to be otherwise impregnable in a low-turnout midterm election. They can’t figure out how to back down without winning concessions the Democrats have no incentive to give them.