There’s an interesting but telling sentence in Mort Kondracke’s column considering whether President Obama will make a deal with Republicans on spending. Here it is:
Republicans impeached Clinton, and still he reached deals with them to balance the budget and enact welfare reform.
I think this is a mis-stating of the sequence of events. A more accurate formulation would be “Bill Clinton reached deals with Republicans to balance the budget and enact welfare reform but they impeached him anyway.” That formulation might go some way towards explaining the zero-sum approach that President Obama has taken towards negotiations during his presidency.
Nonetheless, I agree with the general thrust of the piece:
Certainly, the political gridlock of his first term was not all his fault. But he’s the president, and by every historical standard of negotiating leadership in partisan times — Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton — he falls short.
President Obama will get what he wants or we’re going over the cliff.