Driving the Week

Reuters
Reuters

Mark Halperin on Morning Joe previews what’s next.

1. Who will win the pre-shutdown spin game?
With just a few days before federal government funding ends, both sides will work furiously to get the upper hand, targeting their messages at the bases, the independent voters, and, most of all, the media. The Gingrich-led GOP lost this very battle in 1995, and Republicans are well aware of that history and the pitfalls of appearing to welcome a shutdown. Can Obama mirror Bill Clinton’s feat of simultaneously defend the role of government and scare Americans about the implications of the loss of basic services?

2. Who lost Bahrain? And Libya? And, …..?
With violence and killing in the region escalating, the Obama administration is in danger of having its foreign policy frozen in place by the chaos. There will be a series of tough choices about how much to aid and abet continuing protests, amid threats of instability and little prospect for the kind of quick results seen in Egypt. And: can the US-Saudi Arabia relationship thrive and survive the newest tensions?

3. As goes Wisconsin what?
Governor Scott Walker has the votes and the determination to pursue his union-destabilizing plans. National Democrats have gone all in to become part of the forces at the barricades. The spin wars are key here too. Is this the beginning of the comeback the labor movement has been seeking for years or the beginning of the end of their sway in the workplace?

4. What kind of Speaker will John Boehner be?
Just eight days ago, the Ohioan made a strong star turn on “Meet the Press”; since then, he has been rolled repeatedly by his fellow House Republicans on a range of issues. Temperamentally, Boehner is perfectly suited to deal with the crises and challenges of balancing the national interest versus the interests of his conference and the Tea Party. But does he have the political smarts and creativity to come up with sequenced solutions to the looming spending fights?


5. Will Rahm win the Chicago mayoral contest without a runoff – and then what?

The Magic 8 Ball suggests Emanuel will break the 50% threshold required to avoid an extended campaign. His current success has been fueled by numerous factors, including his giant treasury—raising and spending millions more than his rivals. Assuming a Tuesday win, what will Rahm do to consolidate his mandate, reach out to those who voted against him, and start the city’s transition to the post-Daley era?

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