I've been away,
1. Megan McArdle explains why an extended failure to raise the debt ceiling would be a policy and political disaster (though that doesn't mean that the sky falls on August 3.)
2. The Democrats seem to be taking Mitch McConnell's offer of a compromise as a sign of weakness and are increasing their demands.
3. Ross Douthat notes that we are unlikely to get a sustainable budget until at least 2013.
4. The economic climate could change, but Obama is currently vulnerable but not doomed. The Republicans still need a plausible challenger who is both visibly competent, and can explain incremental reformist policies to swing voters. I don't really see that candidate currently running. God help me, but Romney is coming the closest, but I don't think he will wear well. (though he might beat Obama in a favorable environment - if he gets out of the primaries.)
5. If Obama is reelected, even if Republicans retain the House and gain the Senate, Obama will still be in a strong position to shape policy within a deteriorating fiscal environment. It takes time to responsibly phase in entitlement cuts and introduce market-oriented reforms into the health care sector. In the US context, it is much easier to suddenly raise taxes and centrally ration health care than to cut benefits and convert Medicare into a premium support program. 2012 is important because an Obama victory means that our policy options narrow and worsen. Time is running out.
6. This puts me in mind of something Mitch Daniels said earlier in the year:
Here I wish to be very plainspoken: It is up to us to show, specifically, the best way back to greatness, and to argue for it with all the passion of our patriotism. But, should the best way be blocked, while the enemy draws nearer, then someone will need to find the second best way. Or the third, because the nation's survival requires it.
Purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers. King Pyrrhus is remembered, but his nation disappeared. Winston Churchill set aside his lifetime loathing of Communism in order to fight World War II. Challenged as a hypocrite, he said that when the safety of Britain was at stake, his "conscience became a good girl." We are at such a moment. I for one have no interest in standing in the wreckage of our Republic saying "I told you so" or "You should've done it my way."
Okay, the stuff about the "passion of our patriotism" is clunky writing but the point is sound. Come what may, politics won't end in 2012 and it will be our responsibility to bring the most good possible out of whatever circumstances we face.
7. Run Bobby Run. For President.