Obama's Failed Debt Ceiling Gamble

More

My new column for the FT asks what Obama hoped to achieve by going for the grand bargain. Was he making an offer he knew the GOP would reject, believing that the talks would fail and that the main thing was to make sure Republicans got the blame? It's possible, but I doubt it.

I think it more plausible that the president was sincere - far too late, but sincere nonetheless. By intervening in the budget talks and staking his own reputation on a dramatic new proposal, he hoped to break the stalemate. He knew he risked his party's anger by putting entitlement reform, which is necessary, on the table. By doing so, he hoped to force Republicans to soften their resistance to tax increases, which are also necessary. A more balanced approach to long-term fiscal restraint would be possible - and if all went well, Mr Obama would get the credit.

It was too little leadership, too late. To make this strategy succeed, Mr Obama needed the pressure of public opinion to force Republicans to compromise. That pressure is still too weak, and the time to fix this is running out fast. Mr Obama has infuriated much of his party - again. And he has failed to budge a pathologically intransigent Republican party - again. He has come to a moment that could settle the fate of his presidency.

Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Fascinating Short Film About the Multiverse

If life is a series of infinite possibilities, what does it mean to be alive?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In