Unfortunately, I don’t have time for a long post. I have a couple of ideas cooking, so hopefully I’ll be able to post again later this week. Until then, Rep. Boehner wrote a column for USA Today and I wanted to give him some credit for getting this thing done even if it was a day late and a dollar (give or take a few billion) short. Seriously though, this article sets out the ground rules and there’s no question that Boehner is playing the game the way it has always been played and he is playing for keeps. If Obama thought he was going to change the culture in Washington, Boehner didn’t get the memo.
Speaking of Obama, what’s the deal with the President? For once, Paul Krugman and I were thinking the same thing. He wrote a column yesterday that asked that precise question.
I have a few theories of my own –
- He’s taking the role of “mediator” too far and becoming a by-stander instead of a participant
- He made too many deals to get healthcare legislation passed and is out of leverage
- He’s afraid to use the power of his office because he’s looking ahead to the 2012 elections and doesn’t want to create a liability
- He understands this is a lose-lose situation and would rather lose quietly than spectacularly
- He got beat politically (unlikely, but I’m in law school, so I’m being taught to consider every possibility)
Whatever the reason, it is clear that Obama did not handle this budget debate effectively and left a lot of Americans wondering what was going on (even an outspoken columnist that probably has the President’s phone number). In the end, I think he’ll look back on this as a missed opportunity. But the good news is that they’ve passed a short-term budget and can begin a much, much more important debate on the national debt ceiling and the 2012 budget. The fun is just beginning.