It's not that people don't understand that he has to compromise. It's that he puts the defining issues of the Democratic Party on the table in exchange for gimmicks and promises from the other side. It would be as if George W. Bush had offered to tax evangelical churches and ban private ownership of handguns in exchange for Democrats agreeing to raise the cap on Social Security. When you do something like that, you should expect some blowback.She ties this in to Krugman's recent post on what Obama was willing to be seen as willing to give away. Even if he knew that Republicans were going to turn him down no matter what, laying out these kinds of cards can't help but make it harder for the president's party to win back the House and hold the Senate next year.
However much slack one is willing to cut Barack Obama, it's getting hard to keep giving him the benefit of the doubt. BooMan runs down what may have been going through John Boehner's mind:
I don't know what Boehner may have thought was possible or what he truly wanted. Alcoholics don't think straight and are hard to decipher. But I don't think he wanted to be in the history books as making a deal with the Kenyan, Muslim, socialist president. He certainly wanted to leave the impression with his caucus that he was only humoring the president.Referring back to my earlier post, "No, Our Side Sucks More," it's a huge mistake to assume that Republicans are willing to negotiate in good faith anymore. They've made it clear that damaging the president is their top priority – even above the national interest. Playing chicken with them, or even calling their bluff, has such enormous consequences for non-rich Americans that it's excruciating to watch.
I'd love to wrong about this, but I just want it to be over. Please let it end soon.