Despite the general view that the GOP will suffer politically in a government shutdown, it may be President Obama who takes the hit, according to a four-term House lawmaker. Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis, who ran unsuccessfully in his party's primary for Alabama governor in 2010, said that the average voter "doesn't walk around with the nuanced knowledge of the distinction between budget problems, fiscal problems, and economic problems." The electorate, especially swing voters, will blame a government shutdown on a bad economy and subsequently on the president "because Obama has the reins of power."
This logic, said Davis, also explains why voters won't give Obama credit for recent decreases in unemployment. Now, Davis said, Obama is caught in a dangerous trap: If the president tries to explain the decrease in unemployment, "He becomes the arrogant elitist who doesn't understand what's going on in Youngstown, Ohio." But, if he does not address signs of economic recovery and instead talks about preventing a government shutdown, "it underscores the idea of where he stands." Davis's argument, made during a breakfast gathering with reporters in Washington this week, counters claims by Democratic leaders like Steny Hoyer that the party will bear no responsibility for a shutdown.