President Obama inhabits a very special world. It's a world in which his entire slate of previous statements, policy preferences, and actions is apparently wiped clean every time he delivers a new speech or press statement. As my friend Mary Katharine Ham likes to quip, what Obama said -- or did -- last week, last month, or last year is regarded as irrelevant, so long as he's making himself "crystal clear" today. Call it a transcendent belief in "the fierce urgency of now." I'll illustrate this phenomenon shortly.
First, a few basic takeaways from today's lengthy presidential news conference, which made little actual news. The president said a debt deal is still a ways off, and stated that although he appreciates John Boehner's "good faith efforts" to help prevent a disastrous default, Republicans must "budge" on taxes for a workable compromise to materialize. He called on both sides to make concessions, arguing that it's time to "rip off the Bandaid" and "eat our peas." He forswore short-term extensions, vowing to reject any 30-to-90 day debt ceiling patches. "This is the United States of America, and we don't manage our affairs in three-month increments," he asserted. (Except when we do, of course). He also flatly stated that an accord will be forged by the August 2nd deadline. "We're going to meet every day until we get this thing resolved," he said. Negotiations are ongoing.