President Obama
President Obama Reuters

The federal budget shutdown may actually happen for the first time since 1996.

Despite the non-stop media spotlight, calls from many stakeholders to stop the bickering, and hours upon hours of negotiation, Washington still doesn’t have an answer.

Earlier, Barack Obama demanded an answer by Friday morning. Now, at the time of this article (2:00 p.m. EST), shutdown is just 10 hours away.

Politicians in Washington are either the most partisan bunch in over a decade or master practitioners of brinksmanship. The reality is probably a combination of both.

The sad part is that they’re not even stuck on core budget issues (i.e. where the big chunks of spending will happen), but rather on partisan political issues.

Of course, as many experts have pointed out, a shutdown of non-essential federal government functions will not have a dramatic impact on the nation as a whole; the main outcome would be political embarrassment and a black mark on Washington and the Obama administration.

President Obama should rightfully be embarrassed, even though there are others to blame.

His national political career was spawned by a great speech he gave as an Illinois Senator, in which he said there is not a liberal America and a conservative America – there is the United States of America.

During his inspiring presidential campaign, he said he was tired of politics and partisanship. He said if he were elected, he would lead Washington and get to work for the American people.

However, as President, Obama failed to deliver on those promises. He did not unite the two parties. In his first few months in office, he took advantage of the Democratic supermajority in the Senate and steamrolled over the Republicans by trying to pass the health care bill.

When he had power, he didn’t want to be bipartisan. Now, Republicans are back with a vengeance and Washington is more broken and divided than ever.

Recently, Obama became more centrist and tried harder to deliver on his campaign rhetoric of a United America. However, if he fails to make a budget deal by Friday night, his earlier partisan politics can certainly be blamed.