President Obama comes out of last night’s debacle in a position of greater political strength, without having had to move an inch. The GOP leaders in the House will end up having to chase Democratic votes to get anything passed. The markets are reacting negatively to the near vote so far, dropping sharply in light pre-Christmas trading. A president who puts economic growth first would find this worrying, but Barack Obama is clearly putting politics first. Boehner’s Plan B was an attempt to expose that fact, but it instead exposed the fissures on the right. Obama’s priorities all along have been political, and he is well on the way to achieving all that he wants, while positioning himself to be able to blame Republicans for all the downsides. The media will amplify that.

Many of us on the right like to call Obama an amateur, but the fact is, he has won national election twice by hook or by crook, and right now he is poised to benefit from the threat of economic difficulty that he has helped engineer, again. The amateurs are those who think he is dealing in good faith, and those who think one stand on “principle” or “letting it burn” will end up hurting Obama. The fact that at this stage the Republicans have no good options left while the Democrats are set up to swoop in as saviors of the very middle class that their policies are destroying tells us who the real amateurs are.