Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What Happened?

Our extraordinary President speaking tonight, after the Senate vote and before the House, graciously, as always, announcing that the Shutdown is over and the country will continue to pay its bills as the debt ceiling will be raised.

So what happened? A lot, and I will say more in the next few days. For now, I will say this:

The President did not cave. He led, if not from behind, from the side. He made crystal clear what was at stake - the constitutional order of our democracy - and left the fighting, the tactical maneuvering to the legislative generals. Above all, he knew this particular fight required unconditional surrender: there could be no reward for holding the country hostage. All of his adversaries and many of his allies thought he would back off from this stand. Everyone compromises in politics, right? It's the American way! Rand Paul, on open mic to McConnell, one week into the Shutdown: "We're winning this thing..." Pundits in week 2 kept saying: "Obama hasn't poll-tested his No Negotiations position. It's a loser."

And the GOP really thought they were winning. Why? Because they were certain he would cave. He didn't. And the terms of their surrender have just been voted on and codified into law in the House and the Senate.

It is possible, but by no means certain, that we will look back and call this a major milestone in the evolution of a workable, intelligent political process in this country.

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