I almost wish former Senator Fred Thompson hadn’t let the cat out of the bag. But he has so I guess we’d just as well cross our fingers that nothing goes wrong and say it: the GOP has pretty much won the battle over the debt ceiling. Things could go badly wrong, but at this writing, they have done a remarkable job. It looks like there will be a deal that Republicans can vote for and that President Obama will end up signing it.
Absent some major miscalculations, within the next few days there will be official acknowledgement of what has already happened….
“Is this the best deal we could have obtained?” you might ask. I suggest that you don’t run the risk of finding out.
There are conservatives lobbying against Speaker John Boehner’s legislation that would end the crisis. Many are the top strategists and thinkers on the GOP side. I hesitate to disagree with these luminaries, but I’m with Fred. (I am wondering if Thompson hasn’t taken to NRO precisely to lobby reluctant GOP members to vote for the legislation.)
The Republicans stood firm, always aiming for a deal that did not require raising taxes. President Obama’s duplicity-claiming to have made concessions, then withdrawing them at the last minute-has diminished him. His behavior was too grand for an elected official, even the highest one. Mr. Obama kept summoning members of Congress to the White House (“I’ve told them to be here at 11 o’clock”), where they could not get much work done, what with being scolded by the most loquacious president in U.S. history.
Republicans like to eat their own. They are prepared to distrust Speaker Boehner as not being firm enough. But they should sit on these self-destructive tendencies. They could not get everything they wanted for the country this week. We have a Constitution and it gives authority to groups other than the House Republicans, ever how much one admires this group. No matter how determined they are, they can’t use sheer determination to do everything they want as quickly as they want to do it.
Resist, Republicans, your Jacobin tendencies! Be patient (but not too patient). Michael Barone says it will take at least another election to achieve their ends: you need two wins in a row, he says, to change the country’s direction. GOP House members were firm. But I don’t think they behaved in a wild fashion that will cost them that second, necessary election.
It is interesting that a default, which now appears to have been avoided, might actually have helped President Obama. His approval ratings appear to go up when the stock market goes down. An analyst for Bespoke Investment Group writes:
In the ongoing discussion over the debt ceiling debate, there has been a near consensus opinion that a default will be averted because failure to reach an agreement would have a ‘disastrous’ impact on financial markets. With Obama looking at approval ratings near the lowest of his Presidency even as the stock market is near its highest levels of his Presidency, he may be thinking that a stock market decline may not be such a bad thing.
The president lost the argument. Listen to Gloria Borgia of CNN saying that today nobody in Washington is talking about tax increases–ecept Obama.