Now that it’s done, the President is calling the debt-ceiling deal “an important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means,” but it looks more like falling off a political precipice.
Even as he reiterates that “we can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have borne the brunt of the recession,” Barack Obama says ruefully, “Voters may have chosen divided government, but they sure didn’t choose dysfunctional government.”
Today, even divided government may sound like an advance from where we are as John Boehner crows, “When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy.”
Yet the Speaker may be whistling in the dark as much as the President because 98 percent won’t be enough for his Tea Party zealots who, having failed to send government crashing down, will be on his heels to keep pushing it harder toward the cliff edge.
As Barack Obama tries to recoup his political equilibrium by passing off what just happened as no big deal, the truth is that his Bad Deal will be seen in contrast to FDR’s New Deal to restore the economy from the Great Depression.