In my Sunday column, I complained that House Speaker
“When Boehner described what the American people want,” I wrote, “he left one thing out: They also want their government to solve problems, even if that sometimes requires an uncomfortable dose of compromise. They aren't seeing much of that from the
A number of readers objected to my laying the blame at Boehner’s feet. They asked: What about President
“Compromise is a two-way street, and President Obama and
Indeed, other readers noted, Obama has said he won't negotiate over the debt ceiling at all.
In one sense, the readers have a point. Both sides are claiming that they won't compromise, even though, in the end, both sides must.
Here’s the difference: House
And what are Obama and the Democrats demanding? Well, on paper they’re demanding a significant increase in tax revenues, an idea that’s anathema to Republicans, just as the repeal of Obamacare is for Democrats. But the Democrats aren’t pushing very hard on that “demand.” They’re not threatening to shut down the government over it. And
Obama insists he won't negotiate over the debt ceiling, but other Democrats acknowledge that negotiations are going to happen "around" the debt ceiling, even if they're not tied to the ceiling itself.
So no, I don’t see the two sides’ positions as equivalent. As Boehner already knows, at some point in the next two months the two parties must cut a series of deals, most importantly on the debt ceiling. But a big chunk of the House Republican conference doesn’t want to accept the reality that those deals won’t include defunding Obamacare. Taking their cues from the
“As hard-edged and ideological as Barry Goldwater or
That's the problem.