I’ve been very lucky to have been spending quite a bit of my regularly blocked out time for blogging focused on building a new website the last couple weeks. The news has been so frustrating, so roller coaster like, and so depressingly tilted towards extremists that I’ve wanted to just put on my headphones and bury myself in HTML and CSS.
I took a break from this around 1:30am on Monday, and saw that we’ve finally got a deal that looks like it will pass. This is certainly better than nothing, and lets hope this is enough to keep the credit rating agencies from downgrading us.
This is all assuming that the grumbling on the left doesn’t result in a large block of Democrats who don’t vote for this deal after all, or the Tea Party right wingers manage to scuttle this somehow. Thank heaven we can move on to other things now, right? Like, you know, the two major parties arguing about who won, and who this will help politically… because that’ll help.
Let’s be honest here – the GOP clearly won this fight. But they did so in an amazingly irresponsible manner. It’s pretty obvious by now that President Obama is a terrible negotiator, and between the inflexibility of the right wing elements in the Republican party and the more strategic maneuvering of the GOP establishment, he mostly twisted in the wind.
It’s hard for me to understand why he chose to wait until a week before the country was to default to use his most powerful ace in the hole forcefully – the bully pulpit. His speech last Monday laid out a plan that was within striking distance of what polling showed the American people wanted out of the debt ceiling negotiations, so why hasn’t he been doing this for weeks?
Had he been hammering away at the Republicans for the last several weeks, would we have seen a more balanced deal? Could he have pulled in the small percentage of more moderate Republicans in the House and Senate that would have been needed to pass something near what the President outlined in his speech last week?
So the hardline 20% of the populace – according to a recent Gallup poll – that only wanted cuts out of this essentially got what they wanted. The GOP has opened themselves up to a river of scorn over this, and I could find not a single centrist or moderate blogger – including the right leaners who are more prone to siding with Republicans – who thought the right’s behavior on this issue was remotely acceptable.
I don’t think the question is whether this will hurt the GOP in the coming election cycle, but rather how much it will hurt them, and whether the Democrats will take the opportunity to build good will with the center in an effort to retake some of the seats lost last year (don’t hold your breath).