But, see, Obama did not do that because he was not after an increase in the debt ceiling. He wanted to use the opportunity presented by Republican demands over the debt ceiling to enact a huge deficit reduction plan. What I thought he was only doing under Republican pressure was his plan all along. Yglesias:
Alas, it seems that this won't work. But it certainly was an inspired move, and it makes it look once again like Obama is always thinking five moves ahead of anyone else in American politics.
I suspect many readers will say this just shows I’ve been slow on the uptake, but watching President Obama’s performance at yesterday’s press conference, I had a kind of gestalt shift in my perception of the situation. Suddenly it became clear that we’re not looking at an administration strategy to get an increase in the debt ceiling, with the negotiations over the long-term fiscal balance being a means to an end. We’re looking at an administration strategy to get a bipartisan deal over long-term fiscal balance. It’s the debt ceiling that’s a means to an end. And you can see that the key Democratic bargaining position here is to insist on revenue increases rather than to try to minimize spending cuts.
This is, certainly, a bold strategy. Rather than fighting the GOP’s effort to create a debt ceiling hostage crisis, Obama called their bluff. He’s willing to do huge amounts of deficit reduction, including giant spending cuts, but he’s not willing to resolve the crisis without some tax hikes. The victim has become the hostage taker. In an instrumental sense, it’s inspired, and of course has created the circumstances under which it might be possible for the administration to sell congressional Democrats on cuts they would otherwise never accept.