I am just about to finish up Bob Woodward’s The Price of Politics. It is his account of the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations.
The more I read, the more I am depressed.
Although Woodward tries to portray President Obama in the most positive light possible, the fact is that he played a passive role in the negotiations and left most of the heavy lifting to Joe Biden. To the extent Obama was involved, his preening, petulant and prickly disposition rubbed Congressional officials and their staff from both parties the wrong way.
Don’t get me wrong. There is plenty of blame to go around. But it may be that its beyond the actors in question. There is also way too much government and even getting rid of a small fraction of it invites resistance sufficient for politicians to back off without even trying.
As I was reading the book, I kept asking myself how Mitt Romney would have handled this situation. Now we will never know. All we do know is that we have the same cast of characters and I don’t expect them to produce a meaningful resolution on Arbor Day much less reduce the deficit.