"I think we’re going to have a crisis because politics is going to trump the good of the country"

Politicians have always postured in public and played poker in private, but as both sides dithered over the debt ceiling, even grizzled veterans grew disgusted. “My side’s just as guilty. I think we’re going to have a crisis because politics is going to trump the good of the country,” says Republican Sen. Tom Coburn. “It doesn’t sound like there are any real adults any more, including in the White House.”…

An earlier façade of Democratic unity masks the degree to which lawmakers have been chafing at the president’s perceived passivity. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have privately urged Obama to be more confrontational. “I’d pick a lot more fights than he has,” Reid tells Newsweek.

Obama was “chomping at the bit” to punch back, a top White House official insists, but didn’t want to “blow up” the Biden talks. After they collapsed, senior aides David Plouffe and Dan Pfeiffer offered a blueprint for Obama to accuse the Republicans of protecting tax breaks for millionaires, corporate jet owners and hedge-fund managers — all time-honored populist targets. But soon after Obama delivered the indictment, he was floating new spending concessions in a secret meeting with House Speaker John Boehner—two grownups quietly seeking common ground.