The debt ceiling remains unraised. Talks between the sides have broken down. The Republicans in the House have submitted a proposal, and the Democrats in the Senate have done likewise. All the while, the days before the August 2 deadline slip silently past.
So, what to do to try to end this apparent impasse? Why, give a speech, of course! President Obama will address the nation at 9 p.m. tonight to discuss the debt ceiling issue, and Speaker of the House John Boehner will present the Republican view immediately thereafter.
I’m all in favor of a good speech, but what is giving a speech a few days before an important deadline supposed to accomplish? It’s an opportunity for each side to trot out their spinmeisters, of course, but aren’t we awfully far down the road for that? Is highlighting the parties’ differing positions supposed to reassure the jittery markets? Are the members of Congress supposed to focus on the polling numbers after the speech to decide how to vote on this issue? If the numbers say Americans liked the President’s speech better than the Speaker’s, or vice versa, does that carry the day?
This all seems like political posturing to me, as each side tries to set the other up to take the blame, rather than a legitimate effort to bring an end to what has often been a pathetic and embarrassing process.