What happened? Obama and his advisers have cast the collapse of the talks as a Republican failure. Boehner, unable to deliver, stepped away from the deal, simple as that.
But interviews with most of the central players in those talks — some of whom were granted anonymity to speak about the secret negotiations — as well as a review of meeting notes, e-mails and the negotiating proposals that changed hands, offer a more complicated picture of the collapse. Obama, nervous about how to defend the emerging agreement to his own Democratic base, upped the ante in a way that made it more difficult for Boehner — already facing long odds — to sell it to his party. Eventually, the president tried to put the original framework back in play, but by then it was too late. The moment of making history had passed.
The actions of Obama and his staff during that period in the summer reflect the grand ambitions and the shortcomings of the president’s first term.
A president who promised to bring the country together, who confidently presented himself as the transformational figure able to make that happen, now had his chance. But, like earlier policy battles, the debt ceiling negotiations revealed a divided figure, a man who remained aloof from a Congress where he once served and that he now needed. He was caught between his own aspirations for historical significance and his inherent political caution. And he was unable to bridge a political divide that had only grown wider since he took office with a promise to change the ways of Washington, underscoring the gulf between the way he campaigned and the way he had governed.
In the end, that brief effort, described by White House officials as the most intense and consequential of Obama’s presidency, not only illuminated pitfalls in the road he had taken during the previous three years but also directed him down a different, harder-edged, more overtly partisan path that is now defining his reelection campaign.
You won't find better propaganda on FOX News as the post lays 100% of the blame for the collapse in the debt ceiling deal at the feet of President Obama...a deal that right now the Republicans are saying they no longer have to follow and that they will not do so. Steve Benen:
That threat is becoming increasingly real. Reuters reports that House GOP leaders are "ready to break a hard-fought budget deal," in large part because rank-and-file Republicans are insisting upon it. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are now reportedly seeking a compromise on the compromise, asking Dems to accept an additional $19 billion in cuts, on top of the cuts Democrats already agreed to swallow.
How would congressional Republicans justify reneging on a deal they struck just seven months ago? To hear them tell it, there's room for a semantics debate -- both sides agreed to a $1.047 trillion cap on discretionary spending for fiscal 2013. GOP officials are now arguing that the cap is simply a ceiling, and that there's nothing wrong with pushing a budget that's lower than the agreed-upon maximum.
But the fault is all on President Obama. The WaPo piece is brutal in its outright fabrications and assumptions, portraying Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor as the "moderates" in the room, standing bravely between the Tea Party and President Obama's socialism. At the end, the heaped scorn on the President ends with this:
Suddenly, the same Democrats who had accused Obama of meekness in negotiating with the GOP were praising his aggressive new tone. What happened during those days in July when the grand bargain was almost reached, but not quite, had changed him. He no longer seemed divided.
His goal now was unequivocal: to win a second term.
How dare President Uppity McOther try to win. He should just show that he's the better man and resign now. You can tell President Obama was on the comeback trail because this piece magically appears in the press just when he's hit the 50% favorability mark again.
And why is "President Obama failed grand bargain" important? This is why:
The president's budget would add $6.4 trillion in deficits between 2013 and 2022, the CBO said.
That's WITHOUT FACTORING IN HEALTH CARE COSTS GOING DOWN. But it doesn't matter.
The president has publicly advocated striking a "grand bargain" -- which would involve entitlement and other spending cuts as well as tax increases -- to reduce the country's long-term debt burden. But fraught negotiations with House Republicans fell apart over the summer.
The CBO analysis shows that the president's budget would end up stabilizing the debt -- meaning the country's deficits stop growing faster than the economy. The annual deficit in his proposal would fall to 2.5% of GDP by 2017 -- well below the 8.1% projected for this year. But they would climb back to 3% by 2022. And barring any more significant debt-reduction plans, deficits thereafter would continue on a northward trek.
You see how this game is played? Once Mitt Romney is the nominee, the "liberal media" will finish turning rabid on the President, and Romney will give their corporate owners all they want. Meanwhile, the media moguls have to keep Obama from getting too far ahead.
Pay attention. Last week it was gas prices, now deficits are all that matter. Next week who knows? But you can bet it will be President Obama's fault...and his "failures"...that ends up on the front pages.