At that point, President Obama and the Democrats had three choices:
1. Let the economy collapse (unthinkable)
2. Send the country into a constitutional crisis by invoking the 14th amendment - thereby probably contributing to an economic collapse
3. Outsmart the Republicans in creating a deal
We all know that they chose #3 - but too many folks didn't think through the strategy of the deal and simply bought into Speaker Boehner's bluster when he said he'd gotten 98% of what he wanted. Some of us actually took a moment to analyze it and noticed how well the Democrats had done. But with an assist from the MSM and the poutragers, the meme of "weak Democrats" prevailed once again.
Just to review, the deal set up a Super Committee in Congress that was tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next 10 years. They had to agree on a plan by Nov. 23rd (next Wednesday) and if so, it would be expedited through Congress without amendments or the possibility of a filibuster (therefore it would only need 50 votes in the Senate). If they failed, automatic cuts would be "triggered" to happen January 1, 2013 - half coming in across-the-board cuts to domestic programs and half from defense. However, Democrats were able to exempt Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, programs for low-income families, and civilian and military retirement from the triggered cuts and limit Medicare cuts to 2% for providers. Since none of that guaranteed an increase in revenue, President Obama said that absent a "balanced approach," he would veto any extension of the Bush tax cuts, which are also set to expire January 1, 2013.
As of today, we are 5 days away from the deadline and there doesn't seem to be any deal from the Super Committee in sight. Some people are starting to recognize what I said over a month ago...failure to reach a deal will change the entire dynamic of the 2012 election. Here's Brian Buetler.
Failure is very much an option. And if failure happens, Capitol Hill politics will take a severe turn heading into the 2012 election....
After Wednesday, the panel will no longer have the power to submit amendment- and filibuster-proof legislation to the Congress for a guaranteed vote. That means cleaning up the mess will have to happen in the regular order, setting the stage for the biggest election year legislative food fight in decades.
What President Obama and the Democrats did with this deal was to not only rescue the hostage of the global economy, but completely change the dynamics of negotiations to give themselves all the leverage. With the looming defense cuts and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, they will be the one's who can walk away from the table if their demands aren't met. As I've said before, Republicans have been stripped of their ability to simply obstruct and will have to proactively work to get something done.
Just how desperate are the Republicans these days? Its gotten so bad that they're crying for Daddy Obama to come home and fix the mess they've created.
Republicans are calling for President Obama to jump into the deficit-reduction talks gripping Washington, reflecting the widespread view that the congressional supercommittee is now headed for a failure.
Lawmakers and congressional aides familiar with the deliberations say the talks have reached a hard impasse, with Republicans locked in an internal struggle over whether to agree to higher tax hikes to cut a deal.
“It’s hard to see us getting a deal unless he comes in at the last minute,” Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said of Obama, who is on a nine-day trip to the Pacific and not scheduled to return to Washington until Sunday...
“Unless the leadership, including the president, steps in and saves this thing, I think the consensus is, in terms of coming up with a credible package, all is lost,” Coats added.
Today is one of those days when I'm proud of our Democratic Party and our "only adult in the room" President who had the courage to play the long game on this one for the win.