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Must Read: Obama Has the Edge in Deficit Fight

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In Debt Ceiling Fight, Obama Has the Edge Matt Bai New York Times
AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN

Republicans are making a big mistake, writes Matt Bai at the New York Times, by interpreting disappointment with Obama’s policies as support for their own anti-government radicalism. "They think the voters have to trust someone, and since they’re not so enamored of Mr. Obama’s performance, that someone must be them." Wrong. Recent polls have the president's approval rating in the mid-to-high 40s and Congress at 20 (with 70 percent disapproving). It's just a fact of American politics that "presidents always seem bigger and more commanding than members of Congress," says Bai. And this has big implications for the debt-ceiling/deficit debate. [Obama] "seems to get that a president wins when he boxes in his adversaries, forcing them either to compromise on his terms or to risk the political consequences of appearing intransigent. Republicans might be right that remaking the entire federal budget essentially overnight isn't such a great idea; but "to the extent that Mr. Obama gets his message across more effectively, he hands Republicans the unenviable choice or either joining him in a comprehensive solution or looking self-interested for backing away and imperiling the economy." It doesn't mean voters won't blame Obama in the event of a full-blown debt-ceiling crisis, writes Bai. "But they’ll probably blame Congress even more."  [New York Times]

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