[Posted by Karl]
Right from the horse’s mouth — Pres. Obama was never interested in a bipartisan debt-reduction deal:
“It is fair to say we’ve entered a new phase,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Mr. Obama’s communications director. But he disputed what he called the conventional wisdom behind the president’s shift.
“The popular narrative is that we sought compromise in a quixotic quest for independent votes. We sought out compromise because a failure to get funding of the government last spring and then an extension of the debt ceiling in August would have been very bad for the economy and for the country,” Mr. Pfeiffer added. “We were in a position of legislative compromise by necessity. That phase is behind us.”
In this new phase, Mr. Obama must solidify support among Democrats by standing pat for progressive party principles, while trusting that a show of strong leadership for the policies he believes in will appeal to independents. Polls consistently suggest that perhaps the only thing that unites independents as much as their desire for compromise is their inclination toward leaders who signal strength by fighting for their beliefs. (Emphasis added.)*
Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for July 22, 2011 (not even two months ago), to the middle of the negotiations about raising the debt ceiling:
[GOP leaders] Boehner and Cantor were ready to accept up to $800 billion in revenue measures as part of a grand bargain. But when that number jumped, in part because of pressure from Democrats, the talks broke down. (Emphasis added.)
Obama had demanded another $400 billion or so in taxes. And the amount Obama is demanding now as part of his fundamentally deceptive proposal is about the same, a bit less than $1.3 trillion in taxes.
The House GOP negotiators were willing to meet Obama more than halfway to his ultimate position. He wrecked the “grand bargain” and helped bring about the S&P credit downgrade. He now pushes again for the full loaf. David Brooks looks like an even bigger sap and Andrew Sullivan looks like an even bigger loon.
*The combination of income growth and casualties explains 70% of the variation in the vote of pure independents. In fact, the relationship between the economy and elections is stronger among independents than among partisans. Evaluate the Pfeiffer/NYT theory accordingly.