One of the most positive developments over the weekend is that President Obama strongly reaffirmed that he will not negotiate over the debt limit while on This Week. From Obama’s interview:
And I’ve told him, and I’ve told the country, what I think we need to do. I’m happy to have a conversation with him about how we can deal with the so-called sequester, which is making across-the-board cuts on stuff that we shouldn’t be cutting, while continuing tax breaks, for example, for companies that are not helping to grow the economy. There are ways of doing this, it’s just that they haven’t been willing to negotiate in a serious way on that. What I haven’t been willing to negotiate, and I will not negotiate, is on the debt ceiling.
Not only did Obama firmly say he would not negotiate but went on to explain allowing this precedent to develop would undermine the very structure of our government.
It was the type of definitive statement Obama can’t back away from without looking weak and pathetic. Saying he “will not negotiate” is not a clever negotiation tactic, it is a firm stance.
An ongoing concern of mine is that Obama would use the Republican focus on the debt ceiling to again try to force everyone to back his goal of a “grand bargain.” This whole debt limit problem started because back in 2011 because Obama thought creating an artificial crisis with the debt limit would force Democrats to accept cuts to Social Security and Republicans to accept tax increase. Obama only ended up with sequester and a continuing headache with all future debt ceiling votes.
It appears Obama really did learn his lesson.