Will the Slurpee Summit bring forth the bipartisan Millenium?

posted at 11:35 am on November 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Today’s the big day in Washington DC, when two opposing forces collide in an attempt to set the table for the next two years, and it doesn’t involve the Redskins or the Eagles.  Instead, Barack Obama makes good on his “Slurpee Summit” offer to Republican leaders Rep. John Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell at the White House, where the leaders of both parties will attempt to find some common areas of interest in the next session of Congress.  As CBS notes, those areas look narrow at best:

Here’s where the White House may be a little shy today — while the Republicans are attacking their entire agenda as a “liberal wish list,” the White House would defend each action as tackling a crisis – out of control health care spending, an outdated energy policy overly dependent on foreign oil and spending to jumpstart the economy. They’d also argue that there has been private sector job growth for a long stretch now, though they’d also admit it’s not been enough.

The administration may also be shy to argue policy with their foes who don’t seem to agree with the White House’s identification of a crisis.

This debate is what Washington will be consumed with, or by, for the next two years. But today’s meeting will focus on two immediate issues, the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, set to expire at the end of the year, and ratification of the START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. This is what the White House wants to focus on – and at least on the latter issue, they’d like to see partisanship put aside for what they say is a much needed treaty. They fear that if the treaty doesn’t get passed in the current Senate, the next Congress won’t get around to it until it is too late, and the entire thing could be shelved.

On tax cuts, the Republicans are adamant that all the tax cuts be extended, saying the American people voted them into power to do so. The White House wants to extend only the middle class tax cuts, but may be open to compromise on the upper incomes for a limited period of time. According to many polls, most Americans want to see only the middle class tax cuts be extended.

The Republicans didn’t win this last election on the notion of raising taxes, which is what will actually happen if the tax cuts from 2001 and 2003 aren’t fully extended, nor on the promise to ratify a new START treaty.  In fact, recent developments on North Korea may provide the GOP with evidence that Obama has his priorities out of order on foreign policy.  The threat to the US doesn’t come from Moscow, but from Pyongyang and Tehran.  If the START treaty doesn’t address either — and there’s no indication of serious quid pro quo from the Russians on either of the two threats in exchange for diplomatic cover on nuclear reduction — then START can wait until more pressing matters are addressed.  In fact, delaying START might make a good bargaining chip for Russian pressure before ratification.

Boehner and McConnell make their own priorities clear in a Washington Post column today, which cast bipartisanship in terms of the midterm mandate for limited government and debt reduction:

Despite what some Democrats in Congress have suggested, voters did not signal they wanted more cooperation on the Democrats’ big-government policies that most Americans oppose. On the contrary, they want both parties to work together on policies that will help create the conditions for private-sector job growth. They want us to stop the spending binge, cut the deficit and send a clear message on taxes and regulations so small businesses can start hiring again.

Republicans got the message voters have been delivering for more than a year. That’s why we made a pledge to America to cut spending, rein in government, and permanently extend the current tax rates so small-business owners won’t get hit with a massive tax hike at the end of December. That’s what Americans want. And that’s the message Republicans will bring to the meeting today. In other words, you’ll have a voice at that table.

We can work together and accomplish these things, but the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress first will have to prioritize. It’s time to choose struggling middle-class families and small businesses over the demands of the liberal base. It’s time to get serious. …

Despite the president’s comments about focusing on job creation, Democrats in Congress are working feverishly to move legislation on everything except stopping the tax hikes and lowering spending. Their focus for the brief post-election “lame duck” session is on controversial items such as immigration, a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” more spending and environmental regulations. Indeed, their actual legislative plan for the rest of the lame-duck session is to focus on anything but jobs.

The essay includes nothing about a federal-pay freeze, Obama’s opening gambit in an apparent attempt to claim the mantle of centrism.  Instead, Boehner and McConnell argue that Obama needs to repudiate the current agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid entirely and spend the lame-duck session extending the current tax rates and cutting the budget.  Obama will be loathe to forgo the chance at passing some progressive wish-list items in his final days of single-party control, which is why Boehner and McConnell lay this down as a marker.  If Obama is serious about addressing jobs, the economy, and bipartisan cooperation, he has to put an end to lame-duck shenanigans and focus on those priorities.

Will he do so?  That’s the $64,000 question.  I’d guess that Obama won’t anger his base any further with concessions on these points, no matter how much good it would do him politically.  That will put an end to bipartisanship in its cradle, which will leave only the blame to be cast later.

Or perhaps I’m just too cynical.  What do you think?  Take the poll:


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B, C, & D

OmahaConservative on November 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM

According to many polls, most Americans want to see only the middle class tax cuts be extended.

Ask them if they would be for tax cuts for the “rich” if it meant increased hiring.

Patrick S on November 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM

There is only one real agenda item: Taxes. They must resolve this quickly. Businesses are stuck right now.

It’s irresponsible, and the Federal government is starting to look a lot like CA.

Next, they’ll be issuing IOU’s.

Resolve the tax issue so business can move forward at least next year.

I personally don’t care if they tax people above 5 million, 3 million, 7 million…..it’s irrelevant. I wouldn’t think less of any “conservative” if they went with some kind of increased tax on the truly wealthy. I don’t think the truly wealthy would care, either. It’s not going to make much difference in their spending.

But let’s just get this done.

AnninCA on November 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Why is “bipartisanship” always cast as “agreeing with Democrats?”

More soft bias from CBS.

JohnTant on November 30, 2010 at 11:41 AM

The treaty stuff can wait. I agree with Boehner on that one.

AnninCA on November 30, 2010 at 11:41 AM

I don’t want bipartisanship from pols. I want them to have conservative principles and the courage to stick to them.

pugwriter on November 30, 2010 at 11:41 AM

I don’t want bipartisanship from pols. I want them to have conservative principles and the courage to stick to them.

pugwriter on November 30, 2010 at 11:41 AM

I think you can stick to principles and compromise. One of the biggest principles SHOULD be….moving forward for the country’s best interests.

If that’s not in the bag, then we’re talking about ideology that wishes to be “right” and doesn’t care about the consequences.

I’m never going for that.

AnninCA on November 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Sometimes gridlock can be a good thing.

Don’t expect Barry to change. “Bipartisanship” may be a word he speaks – but has never acted on it.

GarandFan on November 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM

I didn’t see the selection for “someone will spill a slurpee on the floorboard and someone else will wind up with stitches in their fat lip”….oh well.

ted c on November 30, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Does every Slurpee come with a shovel?

NotCoach on November 30, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Focus on the tax issue. This is a photo op, obviously, but the best commentary I’ve heard so far is that this is simply more evidence of how the WH is ineffectual.

A photo op deal should come at the end of some real progress made, usually in private.

There’s been no such move by the WH so far.

AnninCA on November 30, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Will he do so?

Not a chance. No way. He‘s a rigid radical who’s blinded by his ideology and incapable of pragmatism.

petefrt on November 30, 2010 at 11:46 AM

I love this real principle in my own life: Either save your image or save your real life.

Choose.

Obama keeps choosing image. That won’t work, really. The reason the midterms were so devastating isn’t just over jobs, it’s over the lack of reality imbedded in so many of the Dem policies. They were for show.

Including the HCR, the biggest.

AnninCA on November 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM

I read that the Build America Bonds program will be part of the deal for the tax cuts?

sharrukin on November 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM

The ONLY discussion that should be happening is over the tax blockage.

Resolve that fast, people. Including the GOP. This is not a pretend football. Businesses must inform their payroll systems, and payroll systems must change programming, and it’s way late in the game now.

The Dems really messed this up.

AnninCA on November 30, 2010 at 11:50 AM

D.C. may be the only place in the world where talk isn’t cheap.

This will change nothing. Osama Obama will still pursue his America-hating agenda, Boehner will mouth self-righteous platitudes, and the net result will be a big, fat Zero.

Oh, yes, and the punditocracy will continue to analyze, parse and pontificate as if any of these goons aren’t corrupt fatcats living on the public dole.

Will any of them ever put action ahead of words? Not in our lifetimes.

MrScribbler on November 30, 2010 at 11:50 AM

out of control health care spending, an outdated energy policy overly dependent on foreign oil and spending to jumpstart the economy.

out of control health care spending means CUTS in medicare payments to doctors

outdated energy policy means MORE spending on ineffective and costly energy production, and it does NOT mean more coal production

dependence on foreign oil does NOT mean more domestic drilling for oil, instead it means a higher price for hydro carbons.

more spending….means more debt, more inflation, more uncertainty, LESS employment

What will be the result of the slurpee summit? Obama will preen and posture, demonize the GOP as obstructionists, and the GOP will leave worried, afraid, and confused not knowing what to do next.

Skandia Recluse on November 30, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Despite the president’s comments about focusing on job creation, Democrats in Congress are working feverishly to move legislation on everything except stopping the tax hikes and lowering spending. Their focus for the brief post-election “lame duck” session is on controversial items such as immigration, a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” more spending and environmental regulations. Indeed, their actual legislative plan for the rest of the lame-duck session is to focus on anything but jobs.

-
AKA… doing pretty much what they’ve been doing the past few years… IGNORING the real problem.
-

RalphyBoy on November 30, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Hahaha, B, C and D is exactly what will happen, I’m sorry to say. Sorry, I like Boehner but you’re talking about the most divisive president ever. We shall see.

scalleywag on November 30, 2010 at 11:53 AM

BC%D

Democrats have hamstrung their own position on these tax cuts. They have been whining about “tax cuts for the rich” for a decade, and their idiot base has swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Few of them even realize that it was tax cuts for all taxpayers, not just people in the upper brackets. Democrats are stuck, I’m willing to bet that they will just punt on the tax cuts if Republicans stand firm. Same with the budget.

Mord on November 30, 2010 at 11:54 AM

OT, sorry, but GRRRRR

The Senate just passed the Food Safety Bill. One of the provisions?

Increases funding and staff at FDA.

Fallon on November 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Boehner and McConnell will bend before Obama does.

Jeddite on November 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Obama will try faux triangulation while depending on the MSM to make his gestures look as big as the concessions he demands in return. He even blamed Bush just yesterday for the mess he “inherited” while freezing federal pay.

cartooner on November 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM

I suspect in about 6 months I am going to be sick of hearing the word bipartisanship.

On the brighter side, I hope to hear the word gridlock even more frequently.

GnuBreed on November 30, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Fallon on November 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM

I just knew this would pass. Johanns should have listened to the family farmers, damnit!

OmahaConservative on November 30, 2010 at 11:59 AM

AKA… doing pretty much what they’ve been doing the past few years… IGNORING the real problem.
-

RalphyBoy on November 30, 2010 at 11:51 AM

The only jobs the government can “create” are taxpayer-supported do-nothing jobs.

The government can only destroy jobs through insane policies, stupid economic decisions and regulations. That is a basic truth, one that applies no matter what party is in power.

If Congress and Osama Obama are serious about wanting to see Americans at work, the sole option is for them to take themselves out of the picture as much as possible.

Deregulation, repeal of all rules governing preferential employment, enactment of right-to-work laws and fiscal sanity would help. Sadly, those run against the instincts of politicians.

MrScribbler on November 30, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Who’s the one person fool who voted for option 1?

Buy Danish on November 30, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Never did like slurpees. Zero has to look strong and this is his last chance. The R’s better stay adamant about taxes. It’s what got them to DC.

Kissmygrits on November 30, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Who’s the one person fool who voted for option 1?

Buy Danish on November 30, 2010 at 12:01 PM
Unsure/No opinion 0.23% (1 votes)
I’d rather know who voted No opinion, here at HA?!?!?!?

OmahaConservative on November 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM

“I won”

Mr. Bingley on November 30, 2010 at 12:07 PM

WIKILEAKS Inaccessible In U.S., Europe After Powerful Cyber-Attack…

OmahaConservative on November 30, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Its a tweet from Assange and company and isn’t it more likely they are just being swamped by traffic? I mean it sounds great to do the James Bond bit about how the man is trying to stop us, but since the documents are already released what is the point of such an attack?

sharrukin on November 30, 2010 at 12:08 PM

OT: Getting ready for another message from Sarah

ConservativePartyNow on November 30, 2010 at 12:10 PM

This is what the White House wants to focus on – and at least on the latter issue, they’d like to see partisanship put aside for what they say is a much needed treaty. They fear that if the treaty doesn’t get passed in the current Senate, the next Congress won’t get around to it until it is too late, and the entire thing could be shelved…CBS

Too late for what? A flawed agreement with Russia to add to this administration’s failed foreign policies? Obama removes a missile program that maintained protections in the eastern block, and meanwhile Russia move missiles down to their southern borders and this is the makings for a treaty?

Rovin on November 30, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Can I vote over. Do Over. I want to be with the majority.

Scoreboard44 on November 30, 2010 at 12:21 PM

I am 100% for a Bi-Partisan House and Senate. I believe they should all vote to extend the Bush Tax Cuts and the repeal of Obama Care.

Guest1.1 on November 30, 2010 at 12:29 PM

There should be an option in the vote for Obama and Mcconnell blame GOP for lack of bipartisanship.

Kelligan on November 30, 2010 at 12:30 PM

That’s the $64,000 question.

This is the $510,000 question in 2010 dollars.

WashJeff on November 30, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Boehner and McConnell will bend before Obama does.

Jeddite on November 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM

sadly yes, and the msm will be pressuring them to do so…I can hear them now: why won’t the gop compromise with dear leader?

cmsinaz on November 30, 2010 at 12:41 PM

In fact, recent developments on North Korea may provide the GOP with evidence that Obama has his priorities out of order on foreign policy.

Not to mention the Wikileaks revelations on N. Korea’s initiatives in the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology and delivery systems.

Socratease on November 30, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Will he do so?

nope

cmsinaz on November 30, 2010 at 12:41 PM

B should read Obama and the MSM will blame the GOP

cmsinaz on November 30, 2010 at 12:43 PM

‘G’…absolutely nothing.

Next week everyone will say “Summit? What Summit?”

percysunshine on November 30, 2010 at 12:45 PM

The START treaty is a waste of time. The Russian’s already screwed us with regards to their helping Iran after we hosed the Polish on the missile defense shield. It’s worthless symbolism.
Unless Obama is going to seriously move away from his moonbat base, I don’t see them accomplishing anything except giving Obama the cover to say about them ‘I tried to reason with them and meet with them but they won’t budge.’ They shouldn’t have bothered.

austinnelly on November 30, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Stop the spending.

Don’t fund Obamacare.

See those lovely voluntary parts of the budget beefed up since 1972? Chainsaw time, they are worse than any problem they ‘solve’ or ‘address’.

Tell Obama if you like the budget you have, you can kiss it good-bye as we can’t afford federal luxuries any more. If Republicans cannot stop the spending they will find themselves out in the wilderness as their party is liquidated from the inside, and the Tea Party folks start to do the same to the Democrats. That is by the ‘rules’ of the political game… and Republicans have to figure out if they stand with the spendthrifts or the Republic. If they can’t figure out their name, they will go.

ajacksonian on November 30, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Someday, one of the “hard-hitting” media outlets will have no choice but to ask Dumbo where is that “hard pivot” to job creation.

search4truth on November 30, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Well the video’s out at Politico, with our guys making all the right noises, but no specifics.
Of course, what I really want to know is why Boehner and Cantor are dressed identically. Are they wearing school uniform or are they trying to tell us something?

Fortunata on November 30, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Republicans are a massive fail on the spin re taxes, as usual. They should never have sold this as ‘extending the (President George W.) Bush tax cuts’. They should be going for an indefinite ‘freeze on existing personal income tax rates’. A Tax Freeze.

Sounds a lot like a spending freeze, which sells itself. I know they have to fight the old media as well as the democratics to get their version of the facts across, but still it would be nice if they would just try. This is another aspect of how we are losing the language to the liberals.

slickwillie2001 on November 30, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Instead, Boehner and McConnell argue that Obama needs to repudiate the current agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid entirely and spend the lame-duck session extending the current tax rates and cutting the budget.

You misspelled refudiate.

tom on November 30, 2010 at 2:59 PM