Republicans confused and upset by Obama’s refusal to play the sap in fiscal-cliff talks

Any minute now, Weeper of the House John Boehner (above) will break into tears over President Obama’s insistence on keeping his campaign promises — successful campaign promises, by the way — regarding fiscal policy.

Ezra Klein offers THIS SLANT on the situation:

Republicans are frustrated at the new Obama they’re facing: The Obama who refuses to negotiate with himself.

That’s what you’re really seeing in this “proposal.” Previously, Obama’s pattern had been to offer plans that roughly tracked where he thought the compromise should end up. The White House’s belief was that by being solicitous in their policy proposals, they would win goodwill on the other side, and even if they didn’t, the media would side with them, realizing they’d sought compromise and been rebuffed. They don’t believe that anymore.

Perhaps the key lesson the White House took from the last couple of years is this: Don’t negotiate with yourself. If Republicans want to cut Medicare, let them propose the cuts. If they want to raise revenue through tax reform, let them identify the deductions. If they want deeper cuts in discretionary spending, let them settle on a number. And, above all, if they don’t like the White House’s preferred policies, let them propose their own. That way, if the White House eventually does give in and agree to some of their demands, Republicans will feel like they got one over on the president. A compromise isn’t measured by what you offer, it’s measured by what the other side feels they made you concede.

Meanwhile, Michael Tomasky offers THIS:

Obama seems to have figured, let’s not start that way. Let’s start with a package that amounts to a vision and makes a statement.

The statement is about putting jobs and growth ahead of deficit reduction; it’s about saying that we believe these are the right ways to stimulate the economy; and it’s about saying that we’re not going to open these negotiations on Republican turf.

That is: If the White House had instead yesterday offered a modest set of specific entitlement cuts and domestic spending cuts, that would have started the negotiations on GOP turf, since those are the two things the GOP wants. This of course is exactly what Obama used to do: As in last year’s debt negotiations, he started by offering the Republicans half a loaf, and the compromise ended up at 75 or 80 percent of the GOP loaf, and Obama looked weak and his voters were terribly dispirited. it took months for him and them to recover. 

UPDATE: Ed Kilgore has MORE on this matter of fiscal-cliff negotiations:

[T]here’s another reason other than gamesmanship why Obama should avoid moving in the direction of the GOP until they’ve moved first: Republicans desperately want Democrats to throw them into the briar patch of Medicare cuts that they spent much of the last four years pretending to deplore.


If Obama refuses to put Medicare cuts “on the table,” then Republicans will either have to abandon the Mediscare tactics that are so important to their ability to hang onto their voting base of white seniors, or propose insane cuts elsewhere, or just give in, or just obstruct any deal and let the Bush tax cuts expire (quickly followed by a middle-class tax cut they dare not oppose) along with defense cuts that will freak out their militarist wing. They are indeed deep in a trap of their own design.



  1. Ted Biondo

    Yes Pat, this technique of letting the other party take the blame for tough decisions, even though Obama doesn’t have to seek re-election, shows what a great leader the country has elected!

  2. The only thing holding up Boehner’s socks are gerrymandered districts and a few highballs. He’s always running to the media and talking about what the “American people want”. Will we got news for you Mr. Weeper, we don’t want you or your obstructionist party.

  3. Republicans confused and upset by Obama’s refusal to play the sap……er……leader in fiscal-cliff talks.

  4. Brian Opsahl

    @ Ted, Nobody posting on anything interesting on your own blog so you need some applesauce do you !! what to many Nazis over there…Sir !!

    Pat, I think somebody forgot just who won and who’s ideas where picked and who’s were NOT..!!
    I don’t think Boehner’s really a bad guy he just works for some really crazy folks with some hatefull ideas against Women,Gays,Blacks,Latino’s, pretty much everybody but old fat white guys. All I hear from the republicans is how we all want free stuff, welfare and the likes…well it looks as though those people vote too…don’t they

  5. “Perhaps the key lesson the White House took from the last couple of years is this: Don’t negotiate with yourself. ”

    Why shouldn’t the Republicans follow the same advice?

  6. Brian Opsahl

    Because they L O S T.. doc thats why …they have no leveradge…its either over the fiscal cliff Jan, 1st… or Negotiate. Thats it…they have no chips to play this time…all there rich friends will have to pay a little more this time…boohoo for you. Just as I had to take the stupid crap Bush came up with…the shoe is on the other foot …Doc

    Be glad my guys arnt as ridgid as yours have been over the last 2 years..

  7. Ted: Don’t be naive.

    Your plutocratic Republican friends in Congress aren’t going to have to “take the blame for tough decisions” unless they decide to do the nation further harm by trying to thwart the clear will of the American people regarding higher taxes on rich folks.

    Nor will Obama or the Democrats in Congress escape any “blame” that arises from whatever deal finally emerges. Any such deal will require Democratic votes in Congress and Obama’s signature on the final bill.

    Congressional Republicans are just a bunch of sore losers and crybabies. No wonder Democratic candidates in both houses got more votes overall in this recent election. And no wonder most Americans are likely to blame Republicans if this fiscal-cliff thing gets out of hand.

  8. No Brian,

    They WON their seats. They didn’t lose. Mr. Romney lost.

    Their rich friends are more than capable of paying more, just as Mr. Obama and his rich friends are so capable. Unfortunately, while that may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, it will result in several simple facts.

    Those rich guys will still be rich.

    You will not be any more rich.

    We are all still fiscally screwed.

  9. Republicans are in a can’t-win situation with this fiscal cliff thing. And yet, expdoc continues to pretend that those numbskulls know what they’re doing and that everything is Obama’s fault.

    This post-election period is turning out to be more fun than I had expected.

    Let’s see:

    We have secessionist wackos running around all over the place.

    We have Romney cancelling out his gracious concession speech with a lot of whining to his campaign contributors about how Obama won by buying the votes of colored folks and other layabouts.

    We have dark conspiracy theories about how the Dems stole the election.

    We have paranoid gun nuts buying firearms like crazy because the NRA has told them Obama wants to seize their weapons.

    And now we have the sorry spectacle of Crybaby Boehner whining about the fact that Obama won’t willingly submit to a good old-fashioned screwing by the plutocrats.

  10. Oh, I left out the Benghazi stuff from the foregoing list of wingnut preoccupations these days.

    My bad.

  11. “And now we have the sorry spectacle of Crybaby Boehner whining about the fact that Obama won’t willingly submit to a good old-fashioned screwing by the plutocrats.”


    As an expert on human anatomy I feel the need to point out that it is physically impossible to screw yourself. Obama is a plutocrat, therefore he cannot be screwed by the plutocrats.

  12. An expert on human anatomy?

    Can you tell us why so many republicans have their heads up their butts?

  13. Brian Opsahl

    I can, I can, they are looking for Waldo..!! ….lolo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *