Ezra Klein usefully distills a long-observed Obama phenomenon: "concessions the White House has unilaterally made to Republicans" and what little has come from them. What's always boggled me is that no one in the White House has an even vaguely compelling explanation for this decision-making process -- it's obviously not what partisanship looks like, and it's not how a bipartisan deal has ever been crafted before, either.
Ta-Nehisi Coates catches Robert Gibbs claiming the most recent example of this dynamic, the newly announced pay freeze for federal workers, is simply "the right thing to do." But the president's budget for next year has always contained a pay increase for federal employees, so I'd be curious to know when exactly the administration changed its policy and why. Yet I suspect even that wouldn't tell us the method to this madness. I find it hard to believe there even is one -- this practice seems to be a sign of a dysfunctional administration, not one executing a dumb strategy. We will, of course, keep asking.
-- Tim Fernholz
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