Senators Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer jumped all over comments today by a House Republican that essentially threatened a government shutdown over the continuing resolution on the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. They asked House leadership to clarify whether they agree that a government shutdown is possible in the next three weeks, when the current continuing resolution expires.

The obvious goal here is to paint the GOP as extreme and rigid, and the Democrats as willing to compromise for the sake of the nation. The phrase “let’s use a meat axe instead of a scalpel” came up a lot. Only once did Reid manage to mention that the goal should be creating jobs at this point, not a monomaniacal focus on the deficit.