The best kept secret in Washington has apparently been President Obama’s secret debt-ceiling plan. It’s the story of the day, and it’s a funny kind of secret. It’s one that Obama’s go-fers are peddling. According to them, the plan has been kept secret because of an understanding among the parties. I guess we are to believe that events have overtaken that understanding, or something. In any event, we are to believe.
Obama’s mythical secret plan reminds me of another mythical secret plan: Nixon’s secret plan to end the Vietnam War. As our colleague Steve Hayward explains in the first volume of The Age of Reagan:
That Nixon had advertised a “secret plan” to end the war during the 1968 campaign was a commonplace of Nixon lore, but this is a myth, owing mostly to a wire service story that intuited such a plan. Nixon said no such thing; the phrase “secret plan” was used by a questioner to Nixon in a New Hampshire town meeting, but attributed to Nixon in a UPI story that was only belatedly corrected. But Nixon had to treat the issue carefully; it hardly served his interest to refute the story and say he had no plan.
Perhaps this is a case of history rhyming.