The rumored deals flying around Washington today all sound pretty bad. And how could they not be? The White House started with a position that:And in conclusion:1. Failure to raise the debt ceiling is unacceptable.But (1) and (3) were in significant tension. The White House strategy for getting (3) was to persuade the public that (3) was the correct position. They did that, and all polls showed that public opinion was on their side. But then an underpants gnome problem arose. They didn’t dissolve parliament and call for a snap election. Eric Cantor said “no” and once he said “no,” (1) collided with (3) and the White House dropped (3). Once you’re there, how is the deal not going to be bad?
2. The country should enact substantial deficit reduction in 2011.
3. Any deficit reduction package must include revenue increases.
I actually think that whatever the contours of the deal, at this point the biggest damage is to the overall system of government. Obama has successfully transformed massive debt ceiling hostage taking from an act of breathtakingly irresponsible brinksmanship into a proven effective negotiating tactic.Many thanks to the Compromiser-in-Chief. Many, many thanks.