Areas where Obama, Republicans, and Democrats might find enough common ground to avoid a national default
At times like this, it's tempting to recall the 1987 movie No Way Out and a deliciously biting Beltway line from that movie.
It's when a beautiful but cynical Washington party girl, Susan Atwell (played by Sean Young), first meets handsome Navy Cmdr. Tom Farrell (played by Kevin Costner):
Susan Atwell: Are you one of them?
Tom Farrell: One of what?
Susan Atwell: These hypocrites. All posh and shiny getting ready for four more years of ramming it to the rest of us.
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Right now, Washington looks and feels stuck in No Way Out syndrome. It has nothing to do with that Cold War celluloid thriller and everything to do with ideology and inertia in the debt-ceiling debate. By all outward appearances, the dominant caucuses in Congress can be named "I Won't" and "I Can't."
But is there room for an 11th-hour compromise? Is the glue available, possibly even visible, to patch together a deal?
First, of course, the existing plans have to die their inevitable legislative deaths. House Speaker John Boehner's $900 billion debt-ceiling increase, now redrafted with $917 billion in cuts certified by the Congressional Budget Office, will pass the House on Thursday. It will then die when the Democratically controlled Senate tables it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's $2.7 trillion debt-ceiling increase will not surmount a GOP filibuster and therefore will die as well.