John suggests President’s Obama’s walkout yesterday was not a fit of pique, but reflected polling showing Republicans will be blamed if the debt ceiling is not raised. Perhaps Obama has learned what Henry Kissinger once said was an important principle in negotiations: never get angry, except on purpose. But this anger seems childish: the president who asked 10 days ago that no one issue ultimatums is now issuing angry ones, telling Republicans they must raise the taxes he could not get a Democratic Congress to raise — or Grandma is toast.
Is there no one willing to get intentionally angry about the way laws are now being made: a Gang of [Enter Number] meets in secret, followed by secret talks with the Vice President, followed by secret talks at the White House, concluding with major legislation enacted a day after the legislative language is prepared, with the public finding out what’s in the law after that. Why not enact a 90-day extension of the debt ceiling, with a requirement that the President produce a public proposal with sufficient specificity that it can be scored, evaluated and debated — and then have negotiations on C-SPAN, as he once promised while in a calmer mood.