There will be a budget deal, but only after President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have milked the crisis for every cheap political point they can. It appears they would be content to shut down the federal government just so they can blame the GOP.
After failing last year when they had big majorities in Congress to pass a budget for the current fiscal year, neither the administration nor congressional Democrats can rouse themselves to do the serious business of the country. Imagine the howls if a Republican president with big majorities in each chamber had let the fiscal year start and nearly five months go by without finalizing the appropriations bills necessary to fund the government.
If this is not incompetence, then it is at least evidence of a serious lack of leadership by Democrats at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Obama promises a "serious conversation" on entitlements at some undefined future time, but posturing by his aides and Democrats on Capitol Hill reveals that the principal (if not sole) goal of the Obama White House now is to get reelected.
A budget deal will come only when Obama believes it is in his political interest. Until then, the candidate who promised post-partisanship in the White House will be a hyper-partisan president.
This article originally appeared on washingtonpost.com on Wednesday, February 20, 2011.