Republicans claim this is no retreat, but they are not fooling anyone. White House press secretary Jay Carney celebrated the GOP capitulation, declaring the president was “encouraged” that the GOP was finally ready to “back off their insistence on holding our economy hostage to extract drastic cuts in Medicare, education, and programs middle class families depend on.” A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the GOP move “reassuring.” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called it a “major victory” for president. And The Post editorial page welcomed the GOP’s “apparent abandonment” of their “economically nonsensical” insistence that any increase in borrowing authority be matched with equal or greater spending cuts.

Sorry, linking the raising of the debt ceiling to spending reductions is neither nonsensical nor ground breaking. In fact, every significant debt reduction bill in the last 27 years — starting withGramm-Rudman-Hollings in 1985 — was linked to a debt-limit increase. It seems to be the only thing that forces politicians in Washington to cut spending.

So why on earth would Republicans abandon that leverage, much less violate the promise they made to follow the Boehner rule on all future debt limit votes?