Video: President Obama on the Pointless Partisanship of DC Politics Barack Obama Video About Honor and Partisanship in Washington
These days America's hyper-partisan debt battle seems like it's going to last forever. Thankfully, we know that can't be the case. Either the Democrats and Republicans agree on a way to raise the country's $14.3 trillion debt limit by August 2, or, according to experts, America falls back into a recession and Standards and Poors downgrades the nation's credit rating.
In an attempt to avoid the worst case scenario and hammer out a deal, President Obama and congressional leaders from both parties have been having a series of budget meetings at the White House, the results of which have been inconclusive and heated. The most famous anecdote to emerge says that Obama was so frustrated by the end of Wednesday night's gathering that he "stormed out" (though Speaker of the House John Boehner now says that's exaggerated).
Regardless of where you stand on the issue of our debt, a refreshing break from Washington's current bout of bitter partisanship is the previously unreleased video above, taken in Massachusetts in March. In it, the president discusses with a group of Democratic, Republican, and Independent college students what it means to live and legislate in a truly bipartisan America. "The nature of our democracy ... is to marry principle to a political process that means you don't get 100 percent of what you want," says Obama. "And you can be honorable in politics understanding that you're not going to get 100 percent of what you want."
Hearing the president lay out to college kids what should be simple for grown men and women in Congress to grasp—that politics demands push and pull—makes this constipated budget crisis all the more infuriating. "You can't always get what you want." It's so simple the Rolling Stones made a song about it decades ago. And yet now we have House Majority Leader Eric Cantor saying he won't budge an inch on his demands for no new tax revenues. "[The Democrats] are going to have to come and meet us," Cantor said to reporters on Monday. If anything, the lesson there is that while you can be honorable in Washington, the sad truth is that many of our leaders won't be honorable.