BRIEFING: In July, the president and the Democrats locked horns with Republicans for an unprecedented stalemate over raising the debt ceiling (the amount of money the country can borrow). While a temporary ﬁx allowed the country to avoid shutdown, the USA’s credit rating suffered.
BREAKDOWN: “The president was saying let’s put everything on the table, including tax cuts and social security and deal with deﬁcit reduction across the board. But they weren’t going to entertain any tax cuts. He went into it projecting the big picture and they went for narrow politics. They showed they are willing to sacrifice the country to win an election.”
LESSONS LEARNED: “You can only have bipartisanship if the other party wants to engage. Just like you can’t have a one-sided marriage. You cannot deal with inﬂexible people, so you must go to the public. As long as you get captured on beltway, you won’t penetrate to the people. I too was afraid that we would give up more than we can get. I discovered you can’t underestimate the president. While they were playing checkers, he was playing chess. He was putting them in a position that exposed them as irrational and unreasonable. He played rope-a-dope.”