Will both sides blink on the debt ceiling?

With the financial credibility of our nation at stake, and both parties facing massive political risks, lawmakers might agree to a grand bargain after all

Robert Shrum

This president wasn't elected to abet the dismantling of the New Deal and the Great Society. That's change we can't believe in. But if a stalemate on raising the debt ceiling sets back the recovery, or double dips the economy into renewed recession, Barack Obama may have bigger problems than a damaged re-election campaign.

The Republicans in Congress weren’t elected to acquiesce on tax increases. Ronald Reagan raised taxes after promising to cut them, and repeatedly proposed and signed higher debt limits. Of course, that was then and this is now — before the GOP morphed into a cult. But Republicans are still a party with a House majority that has to be re-elected — and they might not be if they bear a hefty share of the blame for another financial collapse and global economic crisis. Instead of scheming to replace John Boehner as House speaker, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), a latter day Newt Gingrich, albeit in better shape, could find himself competing for minority leader.

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