Just to recap events, Obama led the way in accelerating DC’s overspending to the point that it is rapidly becoming unsustainable. He then, a couple of weeks ago, flatly refused to meet with the Republicans to discuss a debt ceiling deal. His excuse at the time was that he’d already heard the GOP’s arguments and wasn’t interested in hearing them again. Then, apparently seeing his poll position deteriorating while unemployment inched up again, Obama reversed course and demanded meetings with the GOP on the debt ceiling. He then proposed his own budget framework, which had already been rejected by Congress as unserious, as the “compromise.” No one fell for that trick, so meetings have continued and here we are, with the mild-mannered Mitch McConnell saying that as long as Obama is president, it’s not possible to strike a real deal at all.
Mr. McConnell said he had gone into negotiations in good faith over how to formulate a deficit-reduction package to accompany an increase in the statutory borrowing limit. The Treasury has said the limit must be raised by Aug. 2 to avoid the potential of a U.S. default on its debts, while Mr. Obama has said he wants a deal by July 22.
Messrs. McConnell and Boehner said it was the White House’s responsibility to ensure policy makers are able to raise the deadline. “This debt-limit increase is his problem,” Mr. Boehner said. “The President talks a good game, but when it comes time to actually putting these issues on the table, making decisions, they can’t quite pull the trigger,” Mr. Boehner said.
Mr. McConnell said he concluded after the latest negotiations that the administration had “expressed a fundamental unwillingness” to agree to significant spending cuts.
“But after years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is unattainable,” Mr. McConnell said in a Senate floor speech.
Negotiations resume today. Treasury Sec Tim Geithner is now saying they have to strike a deal in 48 hours, a line he’ll probably move as he has moved the debt ceiling line itself in the past. Among the problems here is that neither Geithner nor Obama have any credibility at all with the GOP (or a majority of the public anymore), Geithner having his tax problems and having presided over the fastest US debt accumulation in our history. And Obama just doesn’t have any idea how to lead without resorting to partisan sniping and insults. He wasn’t the most liberal Senator in the Senate for nothing. He trotted his spokesman, Jay Carney, out to take shots at the GOP yet again today, just like Monday, in advance of today’s meetings. That is just not how you prepare the ground for striking a deal. It is how you keep your own base fired up while you play kabuki, though, and that’s all the president seems to be be doing.