The clear and present danger crux of the Washington stalemate is:
Boehner - "I don't trust you Mr. President"
Obama - "I don't trust you Mr. Speaker"
...yet they (desperately) need each other.
Boehner wants negotiations before committing to the debt limit increase. Obama after.
The President is committing to constructive negotiations on all issues if a clean CR and debt limit increase done first. Boehner does not trust that will happen post deal if he agreed to those terms, and does not want to be snookered and risk/lose pre-deal leverage.
Call each other's bluff and give each other what they want without any respective loss of long term advantage/positioning.
Both parties agree to a clean 6 month (not 6 weeks (that's how long it will take each side just to get their act together and tee up meetings) not 1 year) government operating and clean debt ceiling increase. The timeframe is neither to short (not enough time to really accomplish anything) nor to long (President reneges and problem pushed too far into the future for GOP to get the playing field re-leveled). Rather just right to gage sincerity and real results, or not.
In exchange, Boehner and Obama pony up and put their commitment where their mouth is. They will agree to immediately begin bi-partisan discussions and negotiations on the host of issues each party wants tabled. Both sides knowing if there is not clear compromise progress by each side, the next potential gridlock point 6 months will be one neither of the responsible members in either party want to be, as the "negotiation option" will have been exhausted and no more.
We have a break in gridlock, the world breathes a collective sigh of relief, both parties can regroup, and genuine negotiations can begin in earnest, with the ever present overhang (stick) that the lack of results gridlock at the next juncture will be even worse than now if the parties falter in their commitment to this negotiation process.
And a few final thoughts and/or guiding principles to both Boehner and Obama:
- Change the system - If the debt ceiling "is not negotiable", then why in hell is a Congressional vote necessary? It should then be a simple rubber stamp, which it clearly currently is not. So decide and agree what it should be"whatever that is"to avoid this insane and inane nonsense next time.
- If the 6 month agreement above is not put in place by Oct 17, President Obama needs to take ownership of the crisis/situation and invoke the 14th Amendment. He simply needs to ask the question, does he want his Presidential legacy to be that of strong leader, or weak (and only President to) defaulter.
Leadership requires making the right decision, not the easy decision.
- President Obama needs to man up and accept the fact and responsibility that he created the Tea Party monster. The consequence of his arrogant "in your face, take no prisoners, my way or the highway" approach to the opposition during his first 18 months in office (and which continues, but not as effective with a split Congress).
You reap what you sow Mr. President. Take ownership of what "you" put in motion.
- To John Boehner - Grow a spine. Get some kahunas and stand up to your minority. Jellyfish is (very) unbecoming of the House Speaker.
- To both Boehner and Obama - Put the lid on the vinegar bottle. You get more bees with honey...i.e. Shut up and fire your advisors who suggest hurling nastiness at someone (each other) you need to help you succeed. It's counter-intuitive, counter-productive and downright A-S-I-N-I-N-E...for starters.
Wake up and realize (and grudgingly accept) you need each other...whether you like it/him or not.
So now my children, go forth..........
.................................................and play nice.