In an illuminating (and surprisingly snark-free) column, Gerald Seib of the Wall Street Journal explains why a budget/debt-ceiling agreement would be good for Obama and good for Washington. Seib points out that there are at least two statesmen in Washington:
. . . [B]oth Messrs. Obama and Boehner have been searching for a big deficit deal for the most imporant reason of all: Both think one would be good for the country and its economy in the long run. Both deserve credit for that.
Seib then explains why an agreement would be good for Obama and why, in the end, Obama could come out the winner in any case — politically, at least:
. . . [H]is talking points practically write themselves: I offered three dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in tax increases, and Republicans turned me down. Because Republican leaders wouldn’t accept any tax increases, everybody will pay more for Medicare and Social Security and get less in benefits down the road.
So the Republicans are going to sacrifice whatever reputation they had for sensible governing in order toburnish the reputation of Eric Cantor and enshrine Grover Norquist in the Tax Deniers Hall of Fame? Compromise is at the heart of good governing, and it also reassures markets. The confidence deficit (and the other one too) will start to shrink when there is a surplus of compromise in Washington.