David Leonhardt writes, in an analysis of the fiscal deal so far, that Obama's political risks have increased. The President as lost some leverage.
“I want a big deal. I want a comprehensive deal,” Mr. Obama said almost two months ago, at his first post-election news conference. “I want to see if we can, you know, at least for the foreseeable future provide certainty to businesses and the American people.”
When House Republicans made it clear that they opposed a big deal, however, Mr. Obama decided to take the smaller deal, bank a series of victories and wait to fight another day. The alternative — debated inside the White House, but not ultimately a close call — would have been to go over the cliff in the hope of forcing Republicans into a larger deal.
In a very interesting discussion this morning, the Wall Street Journal's David Wessel pointed out that Obama shares with Bill Clinton the ability to communicate his conceptual thinking... until he backs off.
Clinton was able to turn the concept into reality, see the deal through. (The Times reports that Clinton thinks the latest deal is a good one, by the way.) Obama, at least when it comes to this deal, seems to have faded away. Will he be able to turn a series of difficult small deals, forced by Republican intransigence, into the well-constructed big deal -- the "grand bargain" -- that was envisioned months ago?
“I now fear that we are heading toward a crisis that can dwarf what we’ve just been through,” said Robert Greenstein, president of the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “We really won’t know how best to view the deal, and how well the White House has done, until the debt limit is done.”
The wait for a fuller answer will not last too long: The federal government is on pace to need a higher debt limit by March. ...NYT