Top 10 Political Stories for 2011: Page 9 of 11

Top 10 Political Stories for 2011



The biggest Capitol Hill story of the year, and a farrago from which no one emerged covered in glory.

Obama missed the chance to lock the GOP into a debt-ceiling agreement when he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts at the end of last year. That left him in a conspicuously weak spot over the summer as the need to extend the Treasury’s borrowing capacity loomed.

Obama proceeded to get deeply involved in negotiations with BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRestoring fiscal sanity requires bipartisan courage GOP congressman slams primary rival for Ryan donations Speculation swirls about Kevin McCarthy’s future MORE. Liberals excoriated the president for what they saw as a willingness to give away the store, while centrist voters seemed to hold him at least partly culpable for the eventual failure to strike a grand bargain.

If the debt-ceiling issue was a de facto defeat for Obama it was hardly a clear victory for Republicans. The more doctrinaire members of the GOP conference also had to confront the consequences of their beliefs, in terms of the automatic military-spending cuts that are to be triggered in the wake of the supercommittee’s failure.

Here are The Hill’s choices for the 10 most important political stories of the year:

Bin Laden | Giffords | Dissent
Message? | Economy | GOP's reign
Reid & McConnell | Debt ceiling | The wire | GOP candidates