The deal that dare not speak its name turned out to be no deal at all. But let’s not read too much into the principals’ denials: Obama and Boehner surely hoped to reach an agreement on the debt ceiling, just as they managed to avoid the government shutdown and the across-the-board expiration of the Bush tax cuts.
The problem was coming up with something that Boehner could sell to the Republican-controlled House while also winning enough Democratic votes to offset any GOP defections. That’s not a very easy thing to do. Obama just said in his press conference that he’d sign a McConnell-Reid style back-up plan. We’ll see if that helps such a plan come to pass or effectively dooms it with House conservatives.