Debt Ceiling Debate Showdown: Read The Pundit Round-up
In a fit of anger, President Obama abruptly concluded Wednesday’s debt-ceiling meeting at the White House with congressional leaders—says House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.—a description that Democrats cast as “overblown.”
“He said to me, ‘Eric, don’t call my bluff.’ He said, ‘I’m going to the American people with this,’ ” Cantor said.
“He shoved back and said ‘I’ll see you tomorrow,’ and walked out,” Cantor told reporters at the Capitol, giving a remarkably in-depth description of a closed-door meeting.
“Obama lit him up. Cantor sat in stunned silence,” said an official in the meeting. “It was incredible. If the public saw Obama he would win in a landslide.”
Two top Republican leaders clashed Wednesday over a plan that could allow the government to avoid a potentially catastrophic default but would not ensure the deep cuts in federal spending that party members seek.
The McConnell plan offers political cover for cowardice and irresponsibility. If it is the best Washington can do, it is better than nothing. But it’s not much of an advertisement for what Washington can do.
I have always been a conservative Republican, and I subscribe to the ideas of less government, lower taxes, innovation and entrepreneurship. But I also believe that, in the face of a possible debt default by the federal government, Republicans need to embrace the principle of compromise.
Obama thought that solving a big problem would outweigh any political difficulties his deal with Boehner might cause him. But Cantor saved Obama a lot of trouble. He protected him from a bitter intra-party fight and made crystal-clear that preserving low taxes for the wealthy and for corporations is the GOP’s driving objective. Even the most resolutely centrist and cautious have been forced to concede this essential truth of American politics.
If a deal were to occur, it would probably have to be revenue-neutral. There is still some possibility of this because there are some tax reductions that many Democrats in Congress would support on their own merits — for example, cuts to the payroll tax, which could have a stimulative effect, in exchange for the closing of tax loopholes elsewhere. But the House Republicans are very unlikely to capitulate on their no-tax pledge. And Democrats have little reason to capitulate either: they are on the right side of public opinion.
American voters disapprove 56 – 38 percent of the way President Barack Obama is handling the economy, but by 45 – 38 percent they trust the president more than congressional Republicans to handle the economy, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
The country is in a recession, 71 percent of American voters say, but by 54 – 27 percent they blame former President George W. Bush more than President Obama.
That explains his middling but stable job approval—and why reelection is more likely than not, but not close to guaranteed.
Want to be a DC columnist? Dana Milbankgives Villager lessons on writing a column about blaming Republicans:
To some extent, irrationality persists on both sides. Senate Democrats, rather than doing useful work, have been debating a pointless “sense of the Senate” resolution that millionaires should pay more in taxes. But Republicans have a bigger problem. Even when leaders attempt to be responsible — both House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have said that default is not an option — they are being undercut by their rank and file.
Both sides. Right.