For me, the crucial question for President Obama is why he didn't take the advice of former President Bill Clinton, Rep. John Garamendi, and others who urged him to invoke the 14th Amendment and its “validity of the public debt” point and then unilaterally raise the debt ceiling.
The Tea Party Republicans had manufactured a phony crisis with the debt ceiling, linked it to their wrongway issue of tax reduction, and then held the nation hostage to their maniacal demands for trillions of cuts to domestic programs.
Armageddon was nigh.
Yet Obama, after caving on single payer health care, the public option, restoring the Bush tax cuts, on and on, and after negotiating the debt crisis on Republican turf with many of their arguments and much of their language, refused to take the one crucial step that could have saved the day for him and the country that will suffer further under Teapartyism.
Sure, Republicans would have screamed bloody murder. Tough. They forced Obama to the brink, and public opinion would have supported him fighting it out for once and taking this understandable position of executive authority under these draconian circumstances.
The legal experts I read and heard on television said that they didn't think that Congress could have been able to subvert this decision. And consider the campaign issue: Obama took on the Teaparty Republicans and beat them at their own game. Instead, he allowed them to win the battle and allowed Speaker of the House John Boehner to claim that he had gotten 98 per cent of what he wanted.
And what did Obama and the Democrats get? The prospect of a Republican tax-cutting disaster moving in agonizing stages that will most likely deepen the recession, stunt job growth even further, keep unemployment rising, and give the Republicans an armory full of ammunition to knock him out.
Shakespeare has a phrase for this in his sonnet 73: Obama and his adminstration were “consumed by that with which it was nourished by.” B3
P.S. Paul Krugman was right. The MSNBC lineup has done a wonderful job of covering the crisis and laying out the issues with passion and not Beltway “objectivity." Cbris Matthews, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell and the guy who started it all, Keith Olberman now on Current TV on Channel 170 in San Francisco. Thomm Hartmann and Randi Rhodes did good work on Green 960.