With less than two weeks to go before its November 23 deadline for $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts, the twelve members of the bipartisan "Super Committee" have agreed to freeze time on November 22, so November 23 never happens.
This week, in an act of faux-compromise, Speaker John Boehner decided to press a vote on President Obama's jobs legislation. Not the entire bill mind you, just one piece that was included to engender support from Republicans.
Many Americans fear that we are at a tipping point and our best days are behind us. I believe that the fundamental strength of our country is undiminished. It is our political leadership that is failing us.
There is no individual party, chamber, or administration that can be held responsible for the troublesome times that are among us. It is the game of politics itself that is destroying what it supposedly stands for.
Aaron Burr was a victim of his own nonpartisanship, his openness to working with political opponents as well as allies. Burr's story illustrates that Americans love nonpartisanship in principle but often disdain it in practice.
The Tea Party displays the power of a sizable extremist faction to reject bipartisanship and impose its demands at any cost, in this case jeopardizing the nation's credit rating and overall economy, with ominous future implications.
When the president places himself in the middle, there is no one on the wing to create a strong negotiating position. With Obama establishing the liberal position in the center of the possibilities, the deal inevitably is cut further to the right.
If the general American public is left with the view that this debt ceiling crisis was and is a product of Washington "politics-as-usual", as opposed to an unprecedented exception, then the right will already have won, no matter the detail of any compromise that is struck.
We are not a nation of "racist teabaggers" or "weak-kneed treehuggers." We are relatives, neighbors, friends, coaches, teachers, firefighters, cops, nurses, janitors, businessmen, and children at summer camp.
President Obama, finally, did what I had thought he would do on all big issues when I supported and worked for his election: he went over the heads of Congress and the DC-elite and appealed directly for public pressure.