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Our Conclusion, As Always: Both Sides Do It



It’s like David Broder never left:

Obama arguably deserves as much or more blame for that failure as Boehner. The President has also struggled to stand up to the far left. “Fairly or not, Obama and Boehner, as much captives as leaders of their respective parties, will be indelibly identified with the dysfunction of their times,” The Post’s White House bureau chief, Juliet Eilperin, explains in her own look at the relationship between the two men. Like PK, she focused on the failed grand bargain of 2011 as a turning point the duo never recovered from. “But it was Obama, the one who felt stranded at the altar in the past, who decided to move on. At the start of 2014, the president decided to pursue a strategy that emphasized executive action … The moves came with political costs — and a lawsuit, filed by Boehner, challenging Obama’s authority.” The only time they really cooperated this year was on trade promotion authority.

If I understand correctly, what being on “the far left” means in this instance is “opposing massively unpopular Social Security cuts.” And Obama was supposed to “stand up” to the “far left” by continuing to make offers to Republicans he knew they would refuse. This is one of those times where to state an argument is to refute it.

In case you think I’m being uncharitable, earlier there was this:

President Obama, already a lame duck, is less likely than before to get big ticket items out of Congress. McCarthy will not be nearly as worried about his legacy at this stage of his career as Obama is in the twilight of his presidency. This will make it harder for him to take risks or go out of his comfort zone. As a result, there will almost certainly be no meaningful movement on issues like tax reform next year or any kind of grand bargain that would raise revenue.

If you think there was any chance that the House would pass a “grand bargain” involving tax increases with John Boehner — or anyone else — in the speaker’s chair, you really have no business being paid to write about politics.

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