Shorter Krugman: Coffee is for closers.
Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling. Maybe it’s just me, but I see a pattern here.
Did the president have any alternative this time around? Yes.
First of all, he could and should have demanded an increase in the debt ceiling back in December. When asked why he didn’t, he replied that he was sure that Republicans would act responsibly. Great call.
Meanwhile John Boehner:
Remember how this all started: the White House demanded a “clean” debt limit hike with no spending cuts and reforms attached. We stuck together, and frankly made them give up on that.
Then they shifted to demanding a “balanced” approach – equal parts spending cuts and tax hikes. With this framework, they’ve given up on that, too….
Now listen, this isn’t the greatest deal in the world. But it shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town.
Under the circumstances, it’s easy to forget that Democrats control the White House and the Senate, and that we live in a country where taxing the rich is extremely popular, and cutting entitlements is extremely unpopular. This is like giving up a three-run game-winning homer to Mario Mendoza.