Monday, August 1, 2011

Obama Folds with a Strong Hand

So, the deal is another temporary fix to the debt ceiling problem with spending cuts and no commitment by Republicans on the revenue side. I give the president credit for averting the crisis, which he insisted all along (in what was probably a strategic error) was his top priority. His commitment to that goal allowed Republicans to drive a very hard bargain. They understood - rightly, as it turned out - that Obama would not allow his desire for a long-term deal involving both spending cuts and tax increases to stand in the way of virtually any deal that would avert immediate default. He blinked before they did, as he has on virtually every occasion in the past. His nickname should be "The Capitulator."

To be fair, averting default was absolutely critical, but the president proved himself, once again, a poor match for the Republicans, whose ideological zeal (whether real or faux) and apparent willingness to go to the brink - "These Tea Party guys are crazy. They'll really do it!" - proved a far more effective strategy than Obama's approach of pragmatic conciliation.

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