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March 19, 2012

Washington Post: Interviews With Key Players, Review of Contemporaneous Emails Makes It Clear That Obama Killed The "Grand Compromise" He Was Supposedly Seeking

They had a deal.

And then.

What happened? Obama and his advisers have cast the collapse of the talks as a Republican failure. Boehner, unable to deliver, stepped away from the deal, simple as that.

But interviews with most of the central players in those talks — some of whom were granted anonymity to speak about the secret negotiations — as well as a review of meeting notes, e-mails and the negotiating proposals that changed hands, offer a more complicated picture of the collapse. Obama, nervous about how to defend the emerging agreement to his own Democratic base, upped the ante in a way that made it more difficult for Boehner — already facing long odds — to sell it to his party. Eventually, the president tried to put the original framework back in play, but by then it was too late. The moment of making history had passed.

More:

A president who promised to bring the country together, who confidently presented himself as the transformational figure able to make that happen, now had his chance.

Ahem. They always forget this -- "A president who had specifically promised he'd achieve an entitlement spending reform by the end of his first term."

Let me remind the Washington Post:

President-elect Barack Obama pledged yesterday to shape a new Social Security and Medicare "bargain" with the American people, saying that the nation's long-term economic recovery cannot be attained unless the government finally gets control over its most costly entitlement programs.

That discussion will begin next month, Obama said, when he convenes a "fiscal responsibility summit" before delivering his first budget to Congress. He said his administration will begin confronting the issues of entitlement reform and long-term budget deficits soon after it jump-starts job growth and the stock market.

I can see how the Washington Post missed that -- after all, it was a Washington Post exclusive, Obama's remarks coming during a 70 minute interview with the Washington Post's reporters and editors.

But I don't read my own blog either, so I understand.

Back to the present article:

But, like earlier policy battles, the debt ceiling negotiations revealed a divided figure, a man who remained aloof from a Congress where he once served and that he now needed. He was caught between his own aspirations for historical significance and his inherent political caution. And he was unable to bridge a political divide that had only grown wider since he took office with a promise to change the ways of Washington, underscoring the gulf between the way he campaigned and the way he had governed.

In the end, that brief effort, described by White House officials as the most intense and consequential of Obama’s presidency, not only illuminated pitfalls in the road he had taken during the previous three years but also directed him down a different, harder-edged, more overtly partisan path that is now defining his reelection campaign.

Well that's the thing. When you can't run on achievements, you have to run on bile.


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posted by Ace at 03:03 PM

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