Now that President Obama has signed the bill raising the federal debt limit into law, Democrats hope they're done talking about the stupid thing. The weeks of debate over the debt limit have been politically costly: 77 percent of voters thought "elected officials in Washington" acted like "spoiled children" during the debate, a CNN poll finds. Voters give Republicans more credit than Obama for crafting the deal. And Obama's approval rating has slowly drifted downwards since June. So that helps explain why just minutes after the deal passed the Senate, Chuck Schumer told reporters "It is now time for Congress to get back to our regularly scheduled program and that means jobs," The Hill's Erik Wasson reports. Schumer explained that jobs are Democrats' "strong suit." Unlike the debt, it seems.
Whoever the Republican presidential nominee turns out to be, it now looks likely that President Obama's battle for reelection will be fought around big issues. Chief among them: the size and role of government, and the values that will set priorities for a diminished pool of resources in austere times."This had nothing to do with the debt ceiling," said Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman who runs a political leadership program for elected officials at the Aspen Institute. "This was about the 2012 election, and the lines were drawn about as clearly as possible on both sides."