Republicans implode on debt-ceiling fight?
Most likely the Republicans have known all along that refusing to raise the debt ceiling wasn't a real option -- and if they didn't, Wall Street certainly did, and has been telling them so in blunt terms for some time. Once it became clear that Obama would not yield to their demand for a deficit deal preserving the ruinous tax cuts that got us into this mess in the first place, they had no choice but to back down.
The plan would put the onus of raising the debt ceiling on Obama, while the Congressional kabuki part would let the Republicans posture and make speeches without any risk of actually interfering with saving the economy. It would also keep the deficit issue in the headlines for months. But it's hard to see how this will hurt Obama much. Poll after poll shows that most voters -- even Republican voters -- don't want the benefit cuts that Republican leaders have proposed. By overwhelming margins, they'd rather see the deficit reduced by raising taxes. "Let Obama do what the voters want, and hope they don't like it" doesn't seem like a very effective strategy, but at this point it may be the best the Republicans can hope for.
Meanwhile, the red-meat right is throwing a fit, and I can hardly wait to see how teabaggerdom in general will seethe with fury as the news spreads. McConnell and Boehner have, for whatever reason, finally done something that's actually good for America, and they'll never be forgiven for it. Pass the popcorn.
More reactions here.
In other good news, Janice Hahn wins the CA-36 special election by a solid margin, and Wisconsin Democrats beat the Republican "fake Dem" strategy, setting the stage for a clean recall election on August 9.