[Ed. note: Rhetorical question]
Just as he did to John McCain in 2008 and to Mitt Romney in 2012, President Obama defeated a lame Republican political team. The GOP’s right wing foolishly shuttered the government and threatened default in exchange for an unreasonable and unattainable concession: Scrap Obamacare. He refused. The GOP caved.
It was all so predictable. Not quite so obvious is Obama’s response. Faced now with the choice between partisan politics and a risky high ground, the president has an opportunity to leverage this “victory” for a long-term budget deal that raises taxes and tames entitlements. Obama won. Now can he lead?
Does he have the guts to anger liberal backers with a budget deal on Social Security and Medicare?
Is he willing to engage sincerely with Republicans?
Does he want a legacy beyond winning two elections and enacting a health care law that, judging by its horrendous launch, may never live up to its promise?
If the answer to those questions is “yes,” Obama has hidden his intentions well.
One thing the past two weeks has done is undermine the White House’s two most common excuses for failure.