First, he could have embraced market-centered, consumer -focused reforms to Medicare. That was about as likely as him accepting an Obamacare rollback. Second, he could have agreed — as House Speaker John Boehner and Republicans suggested — to sharply reduce tax rates in return for fewer special tax deductions/breaks/loopholes/subsidies. Recall that is what his own debt commission recommended…

In short, Obama sees a need for a permanently bigger government and a lot more tax revenue to fund it. Had Obama agreed with his own debt commission and Republicans, a big agreement was possible. Or he could have proposed real reforms to entitlements. But he declined and there wasn’t a mega-deal. Don’t blame Boehner for that.