There may be a small glimmer of compromise breaking through the dark clouds of obstruction that hover over Washington. It would seem that the prospect of a short term increase in the debt ceiling has moved to the top of the agenda.
President Obama met with House Democrats yesterday. Word from the White House is that the President is agreeable to a short term extension to allow the parties more time to work out their ideological differences. Leaks from the Democrat caucus echoed the same sentiments.
The President invited all House Republicans to meet with him at the White House today. Speaker Boehner, fearful of allowing some of his tin foil hat wearing members access to a microphone on the White House lawn, declined. Republican Party leadership and committee chairman will go instead. Word from the Republican caucus is that the votes are there for a short term extension.
House Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan arose from his slumber to chime in. Ryan is one of the few “establishment” Republicans that the Tea Party caucus will listen to. Ryan favors a short term extension to allow time to forge a compromise on tax and entitlement reform.
Even grumpy old Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell spoke in favor of a compromise. McConnell’s senate seat is in jeopardy. He has been maintaining a low profile for fear of a primary challenge from the right. McConnell is a pain in the ass…but he is a seasoned pain in the ass that knows when to hold and when to fold. McConnell knows when and how to cut a deal in Washington.
You will notice that that we haven’t mentioned the phrase “Repeal Obamacare!” Neither did Boehner, or Ryan or McConnell. That’s because the grownups in the Republican caucus understand that the President is never going to give in on his signature achievement. Ted Cruz and his Tea Party crew have lost this battle. If they want to repeal Obamacare they are going to have to do it the old fashioned way…win a national election and put a Republican in the White House.
Perhaps you are wondering why this glimmer of compromise has suddenly appeared. After all just 24 hours ago the President was calling Republicans “irresponsible” while Boehner accused the President of demanding Republicans’ “unconditional surrender.”
Perhaps it was because the United States Chamber of Commerce, key advocate of all things business and large monetary contributor to all things Republican, came out with a statement that enough is enough. The Chamber warned that contrary to assertions made by the tin foil hat bunch, a government shutdown would in fact have a disastrous economic affect on the business community.
Or perhaps this sudden glimmer of détente came about due to a recent Gallup poll that said the number one concern of Americans is Washington’s inability to get things done. Gallup noted that this was the first time since the 2007 crash that the economy was not the number one concern of those polled.
Or could it be that Republicans saw another Gallup poll which showed their approval ratings at a ghastly 28%...their lowest rating since Gallup began asking the question in 1992.
Or maybe it’s all just one big coincidence!
We will continue to remain skeptical until a deal is struck. And there is certainly the very real prospect that a short term deal is just doing what Washington always seems to do at difficult times like this…kick the can down the road. We shall see.
One thing is certain…the adults have entered into the conversation.