The debt drama has turned into a total cluster@$%!
Everybody's gotten lost in the weeds on this plan or that plan, who's up, who's down, where's the Waldo in the White House, etc. There's only one group that hasn't fallen into the chaos: the Democrats. Why? Because they've orchestrated the timing from the beginning.
Here's the one big point the Republicans have missed:
THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN A ONE-DAY GAME. The whole game has been to start at the end. The goal was to set a deadline---arbitrary as it is---August 2, and THEN be the last one to put a plan out. As long as Harry Reid can play the last card at the last minute, he's able to control the whole thing. He's able to put the burden on the Republicans (in his own chamber and in the House), and say, "Well? What are you going to do? Are you going to let the country go down? Are you going to force the government into a partial shutdown?" The bluff will be called, and it's not Obama's bluff. It's the Republicans'.
In other words, he who controls the final day controls the whole game. EVERYTHING TO THIS POINT HAS BEEN IRRELEVANT.
This has been Obama's game. This is why he fell silent and went AWOL this week. He is preparing to alight on the scene to propose or bless a Democrat plan at the last minute. This is also why neither he nor the Democrats have put out any plans of their own. Republicans are pounding them for their lack of plans and leadership. But the Democrats know EXACTLY what they're doing. It's always been against their interest to put forth "plans" because "plans" would've only allowed the Republicans to counter with a demand that they budge. And they've got no intention of budging on anything.
So the GOP has negotiated against itself while the Democrats have been sitting quietly. Reid "removed" tax hikes from the equation, but Obama did not. There was a method to that supposed madness. Reid will now add those terms to some form of the Boehner plan, and then Obama will either accept that or add terms of his own.
The Republicans have once again put themselves into a box. They have created the very problem they sought to avoid: being held responsible for the finale.
Nothing has ever mattered but the last day or so. The GOP should have stuck it out the way the Democrats have and begun NOW with Cut, Cap and Balance. But alas, it's too late.
We're getting to the last day, a day Obama set in place on purpose so he could play this very game. The Republicans stumbled blindly into it, and now they'll be stuck with the consequences.