As the sun rises on Day 15 of the partial government shutdown, the guy with the toughest job in town is House Speaker John Boehner.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but what he decides to do with the deal worked out by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could decide, if not exactly the fate of western civilization, quite possibly that of the Republican Party.
Here's the deal
The deal, according to the Washington Examiner's chief congressional correspondent Susan Ferrechio, would reopen the government through Jan. 15, 2014, and raise the debt-ceiling until Feb. 15, 2014.
It appears the deal will also make minor changes in Obamacare concerning either the medical device tax opposed by K Street or the reinsurance fee opposed by Big Labor.
Nothing will change regarding Obamacare's individual mandate, which means the day is right around the corner when Americans will be fined for not buying a product a failing government web site presently makes it all but impossible to purchase.
Kicking the can, again
The deal would ease the immediate crisis and clear the way for negotiations on a longer-term deal, the main focus of which will be on Democrat demands that sequester spending cuts be abandoned and Republican insistence that the reductions remain in place.
The decision facing Boehner when he meets with the House Republican caucus this morning is whether to recommend accepting or rejecting the deal.
If he backs the deal, it could pass the House with a combination of votes from moderate Republicans like New York's Rep. Peter King and Democrats eager to humiliate Republicans for demanding that Obamacare be defunded.
Taking this course could spark a challenge to his speaker-ship from Tea Party insurgents elected in 2010 and elevate what are now mere whispers about a third-party movement to something of substance.
But the risks for Boehner are also immense if he opts to oppose the Senate deal, thereby keeping the partial government shutdown going and moving the government closer to Thursday's deadline for raising the debt ceiling.
Most immediately, he will be condemned in brutal terms by the traditional media as spineless for bowing to the Tea Party insurgents and for epitomizing those heartless Republicans who kick hungry women and children to the street while pushing old people in wheel chairs over cliffs and handing out goodies to his rich friends.
Worse yet, it would not be at all surprising if Boehner were also to find himself the target of intensely personal opprobrium from far-left activists with SEIU and other fringe groups.
From today's Washington Examiner
Editorial: McConnell can deal but Boehner needs to seal.
Philip Klein: Emerging deal would be a victory for Big Labor.
Ashe Schow: Bravest girl in the world defies Taliban, again.
Susan Ferrechio: Fate of Senate deal rests with undecided House GOP.
Susan Crabtree: High-profile terror suspect taken to New York to face trial.
In other news
The New York Times: Iran's nuke technology gains complicate talks.
The Washington Post: NSA collects millions of 'friends' data.
USA Today: Second dry-ice explosion at LAX.
The Wall Street Journal: Afghans flee as U.S. pulls back.
National Review Online: Coburn and Black on income verification as an Obamacare battle conservatives can win.
Washington Free Beacon: North Korea uses overseas restaurants for spying, accumulating hard currency.
Talking Points Memo: Cruz, House hard-liners huddle in Tex-Mex restaurant basement.
New Republic: Liberals will miss Bloomberg when he is gone.