Let me finish tonight with what I've been looking for in the entire show: options.
I want to know what steps the president "could" have taken to avoid this hostage-taking. How could he have prevented the tea party-led Republicans from dictating this entire episode, dragging the entire country into its purposes, its way of doing things?
I want to know about another option. Was there an alternative to this? Is there another way to lead than to listen to the other side's demands and trying to meet them?
Is there another way than either buckling to the Republicans or letting the government and the country crash?
How does a president command authority that doesn't come from the obvious levers of power? How does he move a country so that his "rivals" have to buckle? How does he use the power of the presidency, the logic, emotion and basic patriotism of the people to thwart those willing to threaten, disrupt, even possibly destroy to get their way?
How does he find the "authority" that comes from being the country's leader to push back on, push down on if necessary, those who do not agree with him, do not wish his success, and wish only to get their way?
This is so basic a question but it is important that we get an answer. Is there something missing here, some stretch of executive power, and some leadership capacity that has not been exploited?
I'm willing to leave that question open right now - but the country will render a verdict on what happened here these past weeks and months and what didn't happen. What leadership could have been employed by this president to match the devious, willful powers that were addressed against him, because there clearly was a reality here that will not be forgotten: regardless of how this vicious, terrible game ends up, the fact sits out there for all to see that through all its months and weeks and days and hours, the team that controlled the ball did not have the name Barack Obama stitched on its jersey.