10 Reasons Each Side Thinks It Can Win the Debt Debate

10 Reasons Each Side Thinks It Can Win the Debt Debate

By Carl M. Cannon - July 27, 2011

President Obama observed recently that if solving the federal budget deficit crisis was easy, it would have been done by now. True that, but the corollary to the president's point is that if the political fallout was knowable, leaders of the two political parties would never have taken the nation to brink, either. One side would have caved in by now.

Unfortunately for the Americans who feel caught in the middle by partisan Democrats on the left and partisan Republicans on the right, there are numerous reasons that each side believes it has the upper hand when it comes to the politics of this budget fight. Here are 10 of them, five on each side.


The Polls Are With Them. If the United States government slips into credit default on Aug. 2 or later -- and on Tuesday, the Obama administration sent subtle signals that the deadline may be a bit later -- an alarmed American public will focus more on the perceived inflexibility of House Republicans than on anything to president did or did not do. So says Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll.

When asked in a survey if the politicians involved in the debt ceiling debate were putting the "nation's interests" ahead of their own interests, the public was evenly divided on Barack Obama - but about seven out of 10 Americans believe Congress is putting itself first.

"The Republicans will be blamed more than the Democrats," Newport told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor newsmaker breakfast last week. "Everything seems to come back that Obama is very well situated."

The Media Is With Them. House Republicans "have lost sight of the country's welfare." They have held America's economy "ransom." They have "warped" the political process with their "reckless game" while "pushing the nation to the brink of ruinous default." In the process, the GOP has "dimmed the futures of millions of jobless Americans." That one-sided analysis came from a single newspaper, The New York Times, in a single day. If fact, it all came from the first two paragraphs of the paper's Tuesday morning editorial.

But The Times is hardly alone.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Hardball," Salon magazine editor Joan Walsh spoke of "the Tea Partiers and their friends and their enablers and their corporate friends like Dick Armey," who have engineered a "game of chicken" that is "is deadly and wrong." Walsh added: "It's hostage-taking, and you shouldn't negotiate with hostage takers."

"I agree with you," responded host Chris Matthews. "It's terrorism."

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Carl M. Cannon is the Washington Bureau Chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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