Mutli-Perspectival Debt Deal Roundup

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obamaThe US narrowly escapes a self-inflicted wound of defaulting on its debt (by mere hours!!!).  The deal is not a good one by all kinds of measures and has caused a spate of self-examination among liberals (especially in relation to President Obama).  

Here's three perspectives on the deal (categorized by their take on Obama)

(Most Negative):  Paul Krugman.  

Worth noting that Krugman has never liked or trusted Obama (he supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries).  Krugman's is right on the economics but has (imo) a very weak sense of political reality.  

(Most Positive): Reader response to Talking Points Memo.  

This perspective emphasizes that Obama got the best deal he could under essentially crazed circumstances.  He got military cuts on the table, leaves a fight for the Bush tax cuts to be repealed in 2012 (good campaign strategy), has the bulk of the spending cuts start in 2013/2014, after the economy (hopefully) has recovered some, and managed to get Medicare cuts to go to providers not beneficiaries.  Against this Tea Party-controlled Republican Party.  

(In-Between).  Jon Chait at The New Republic.  

Chait says that Obama did get the best deal he could get (more or less) under the circumstances (which admittedly are basically nuts).  Chait thinks however Obama did massively misread the Republican opposition and should have never got himself into the situation he did in the first place.  I tend to agree.  Though Obama's only real alternative was to invoke the 14th Amendment and likely cause a constitutional crisis and a shutdown of the government (I think this was the fight the Republicans wanted to have).  I'm not sure that was a much better scenario than the one we got.  

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Update I:  This take from Kevin Drum (via Andrew Sullivan) is also worth noting: 

In reponse to a poll showing broad public support for much conservative-influenced austerity policies, Drum notes:

Conservatives have just flat out won this debate in recent decades, and until that changes we're not going to be able to make much progress.

This is exactly correct and the main liberal flaw in American politics is an over-emphasis on the office of the President.  Presidents do matter some (a la Chait) but not as much as the overall articulation and selling of a liberal political point of view in the public sphere.   

 

 

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