If the reference in my headline flew over your head, you can get up to speed by reading this. President Obama, this morning:
So I am still pushing for us to achieve a big deal. But what I also said to the group is if we can’t do the biggest deal possible, then let’s still be ambitious; let’s still try to at least get a down payment on deficit reduction. And that we can actually accomplish without huge changes in revenue or significant changes in entitlements, but we could still send a signal that we are serious about this problem.
The fallback position, the third option and I think the least attractive option, is one in which we raise the debt ceiling but we don’t make any progress on deficit and debt. Because if we take that approach, this issue is going to continue to plague us for months and years to come.
Here, the president lays out three possible contingencies for dealing with the debt ceiling: (1) A grand bargain, (2) a smaller, perhaps shorter-term deal, and (3) a conditions-free, or "clean," hike. If you were in hibernation for the last four months, woke up this morning, and listened to these comments, you'd likely find them fairly reasonable. If you've been paying attention, though, you might notice some astonishing contradictions. For example: Today's Barack Obama's "least attractive option" was, in fact, April's Barack Obama's demand. Also, today's Barack Obama's second scenario, which he casts as something of a bare minimum, was so deeply unacceptable to yesterday's Barack Obama (literally!) that his official spokesman couldn't decide if it was a fate worse than national default. Finally, today's Barack Obama's clear priority -- which he is "still pushing for" -- was deemed irresponsible ("playing chicken") by April's Barack Obama.
Some cynics may view these wildly shifting postures as a sign of abject incoherence, but they'd be wrong. They're perfectly consistent -- because in Obamaland, the past is irrelevant.