After a 90-minute meeting at the White House, President Obama came out with a terse statement reminding the public that a government shutdown isn't some romantic trip into the past, but instead causes some meaningful hardship to everyday Americans, who might be waiting for a tax refund, or have loved ones fighting with no pay in Afghanistan, for example. He made it clear (twice now) that the numbers aren't the issue -- they've been met.
That tells me it's about the policy riders, and that is indeed what Speaker Boehner signals in his statement with Harry Reid just afterward. In fact, Boehner looks like a guy who is shoved in a really tight spot because he refused to stand up to the tea party, saying he would not make a deal that couldn't be approved by 218 Republicans, which of course means the tea party must be appeased.
It's those policy riders that are giving Boehner heartburn. The Senate isn't going to do a deal that de-funds the EPA, repeals the Affordable Care Act, and all the other nonsense demanded by the TeaBirchers. Just assume at this point that the budget is being held hostage by the 100 or so protesting on Capitol Hill earlier today, which leaves Boehner with a terrible choice. Will he choose votes, or money? Big corporate money doesn't want a shutdown. Tea Party populists think it's an awesome idea.
Who will win?