There's a reason conservatives like David Brooks and Ross Douthat are so glum these days. In their view, the GOP's inability to say anything but "NO" has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
To conservatives, this has been a galling spectacle. A president who spent his first two years in office taking spending to a historic high is accusing them of fiscal irresponsibility? A president who spent the spring demagoguing House Republicans for their willingness to restructure Medicare is citing a much more modest set of cuts as evidence of his fiscal seriousness?
But this fury misses the point. Obama has been playing the reasonability card so successfully because his opponents won’t (or can’t) play one of their own.
And here's what the public has to say
about current events relating to debt ceiling and deficit reduction, as of this morning:
Americans are unimpressed with their political leaders' handling of the debt ceiling crisis, with a new CBS News poll showing a majority disapprove of all the involved parties' conduct, but Republicans in Congress fare the worst, with just 21 percent backing their intransigent resistance to raising taxes.
President Obama earned the most generous approval ratings for his handling of the weeks-old negotiations, but still more people said they disapproved (48 percent) than approved (43 percent) of what he has done and said.
This is a no-win situation, mind you. As Brendan Nyhan
notes, Obama will take a hit on this as well, simply because he's in charge.
Poll: 71% shun GOP handling of debt crisis
was not the headline the Republicans wanted to see. Nor was this:
Even half of the Republican respondents (51 percent) voiced disapproval of how members of their own party in Congress are handling the talks. Far fewer Democrats expressed disapproval of their own party's handling (32 percent) or President Obama's (22 percent) of the urgent quest to raise the nation's debt limit ahead of a looming default on Aug. 2 if action isn't taken.
Hello, media. The tea party is a minority, even if the House is scared of them. Just another reminder.
What we get is still very much up in the air. But there will be no default.
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