Here’s another take on the eternal topic of Obama’s skill as a negotiator, this time from Nate Silver:
This time, it is only members of Congress who will come before voters again. Given the lack of certainly in how the public reacts to economic crises in Congressional elections, the aesthetics of the debt-ceiling endgame could matter a great deal. Minting a platinum coin, especially if it proved to be less effective at staving off financial panic than its advocates hoped, could look like a clumsy power grab by the White House, perhaps allowing the G.O.P. to stave off blame for the economic harm that ensued.
The White House’s stated refusal to consider the platinum coin has been described as a capitulation by some liberals, but it is actually the more aggressive negotiating posture. It implies that Mr. Obama thinks the G.O.P. will swerve first – or will only damage itself if Congress fails to lift the debt ceiling. That threat was less credible when a debt default might have wrecked Mr. Obama’s chances at a second term.
In addition to the debt ceiling, this is also relevant to gun safety. According to the Times, Obama is going to throw down a major piece of gun safety legislation, which will probably fail in the House. That’s bad news if you want to do something about guns now. It’s good news if you’re playing a long game, where the point of the next year or two is to show that the intransigent House is what’s keeping us from making any progress.