If this is true, then the dichotomy that I suggested last week, viz., Obama is either a Democrat and a moron or a Republican and a genius, is still valid:
A Congressional aide briefed on ongoing negotiations between House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama says the two principals may be nearing a “grand bargain” to raise the debt limit which would contain large, set-in-stone spending cuts but only the possibility of future revenue increases.
“All cuts,” the aide said. “Maybe revenues some time in the future.”
Essentially, this would represent a complete cave to the Republican agenda. And for that reason, I’m not persuaded that it is true. Even the 11-dimensional chess master himself can’t get away with that, assuming that he wanted to.
But the New York Times, Politico, the Washington Post, and several other outlets appear to have confirmed that something is up. The White House has issued a denial, but even with that, there is some wiggle room: White House communications director Dan Pfeffer says, “Anyone reporting a $3 trillion deal without revenues is incorrect. POTUS believes we need a balanced approach that includes revenues.” Okay, then how about a $4 trillion deal without revenues? Or a $2.5 trillion deal without revenues. Oh yes, POTUS believes that we need revenues, but he believed in a public option, too. It appears as if the White House has broached the idea to Senate Democrats, and left Capitol Hill with its tail between its legs.
Maybe the whole thing is an elaborate fake-out, and after trying every possible combination, Obama will decide to save the country’s credit by invoking the Constitution and blowing through the debt limit.
But maybe it’s best to remember William Goldman’s law: Nobody Knows Anything. And also Harry Truman’s: give the people a choice between a Republican and a Republican, they’ll choose a Republican every time.