Here's a sampling of the reactions -- from the left, right and middle -- to last night's news that House Speaker John Boehner walked away from negotiations with the Obama White House to achieve the so-called "Grand Bargain."
The Republican refusal to countenance any way to raise revenues to tackle the massive debt incurred largely on their watch and from a recession which started under Obama's predecessor makes one thing clear. They are not a political party in government; they are a radical faction that refuses to participate meaningfully in the give and take the Founders firmly believed should be at the center of American government. They are not conservatives in this sense. They are anarchists.
Center-right commentator David Frum:
There’s blame for all in the debt talk breakdown. The president walked away from Simpson-Bowles, declined to present plans to reach long-term budget balance, etc. etc. etc. But in the argy-bargy, keep this in mind: the debt problem has become a debt crisis for one reason only: because Republicans put the threat of debt default on the table. That never needed to happen. House Republicans could have kept the debt ceiling issue wholly separate from the budget cut issue. Instead, Republicans put the gun on the table. They raised the menace of deliberate default in a way it has not been raised before.
Watching Obama's press conference..., I was reminded of Jimmy Carter's malaise speech. The two presidents offered decidedly different tones -- Carter as the preacher/therapist and Obama as the frustrated school marm -- but both were indicative of the same development. Carter and Obama had failed to accomplish their core campaign promise, and were left pointing fingers to explain their failure.
[Y]ou can’t get a deal unless you can get the votes. And what’s been clear for some time is Speaker John Boehner cannot get the votes. If you need more evidence, look at the letter Boehner sent his caucus, which is more about pretending that he supports Cut, Cap and Balance -- an absurd and unpassable policy that includes a constitutional amendment making tax increases nearly impossible and capping spending at levels not seen since 1957 -- than it is about informing them as to what’s happened in the negotiations. It’s as if the president walked away from the table and sent out a letter saying that Boehner wouldn’t agree to single-payer health care, and so the negotiations are over.