Word is that President Obama either stormed out of budget talks today or left abruptly or spoke sharply and ended the meeting—or something. The Democrats say they’ve put $1.7 trillion in cuts on the table, and all they want is some new revenue. The Republicans say those cuts aren’t real and they’re not going to be suckered into agreeing that the cuts are real. Watching from the outside, liberals believe the White House and think that Republicans are, at best, insane and at worst, cravenly negotiating in bad faith. Watching from the outside, conservatives believe Obama has demonstrated unseriousness and petulance because he is bluffing and he is having his bluff called and he feels cornered and is lashing out.

How can these people make a deal? They can’t, not on anything substantive. And so, in the end, the much-reviled McConnell option or something very close to it—some series of temporary debt-ceiling increases that take us past Election 2012—will almost certainly be what happens.

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