David Blackburn

<div>Boehner’s concession exposes the GOP’s divisions</div>

<div>Boehner’s concession exposes the GOP’s divisions</div>
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The New York Times reports that House Speaker John Boehner has urged his colleagues to reach a deal with President Obama over raising the ceiling on the national debt. So far, Republicans have been resisting Obama, fearful that tax rises and compromise would damage the party’s chances in next year’s election, which is expected to hinge on restoring America’s public finances.

Boehner’s retreat has incited the presidential candidates, who have been campaigning this weekend. The New York Times has the full details, but here's a brief summary. Michelle Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty averred their opposition to raising the debt ceiling; a stance designed to court the party’s purists. Predictably, Mitt Romney adopted a more conciliatory position. He said that he would support Obama’s plan in theory, but only if government is restructured and downscaled. Jon Huntsman took a similar line.

The division within the party on this vital area of policy will be played out in the coming months; both in Congress, where Boehner’s leadership will be tested, and in the presidential race itself. Obama will have his own worries: striving not to concede too much ground on flagship policies like Medicare and Medicaid during the forthcoming compromise.