President Obama and Congressional leaders have stitched together an agreement to prevent a national default, provided their 11th-hour deal does not fracture on Monday, but the epic budget battle has failed to resolve another question: which party can be better trusted to govern?
The president, with his re-election on the horizon, emerges from the showdown in a diminished state after giving considerable ground and struggling to rise above a deep partisan intransigence that has engulfed Washington. And Republican leaders, especially Speaker John A. Boehner, are bruised after navigating the intractable sentiment of the Tea Party movement.
A full victory lap was not expected ”” or, perhaps, deserved ”” by those on either side of the debate, which has consumed the capital, unnerved the financial markets and infuriated the American public. Yet even as a compromise was announced on Sunday evening, both parties were prepared to try to define the deal as staying true to their respective principles.