If this is meant to imply that President Obama has hitherto unknown skillful-leadership tricks up his sleeve, then these negotiations really will be surprising — but I won’t hold my breath. Apparently, the White House has a “variety of things” planned in regards to the fiscal cliff, but they’re keeping mum on the deets for now, via the Washington Examiner:
After a reporter asked how President Obama was planning to engage in the messaging war over the “fiscal cliff,” White House Press Secretary said that he didn’t want to “ruin the fun” of fiscal cliff negotiations. …
“It would ruin the fun, if I gave you all the details now,” Carney said with a smile.
Uh huh. As it is, I’m doubtful the executive branch has any real plans to lead, put forward new proposals, or demonstrate a willingness to compromise further — but I’m sure they have plenty of campaign-type messaging strategies ready like the one they released this morning, a report on “The Middle-Class Tax Cuts’ Impact on Consumer Spending & Retailers” that basically makes Republicans and their low-tax, economic-growth preferences out to be the Grinch that’s stealing Christmas.
President Obama returned to campaign mode on Monday – casting Republicans as against the middle class by saying their failure to accept his offer for a limited extension of tax breaks will essentially ruin Christmas for consumers and retailers. …
“Stop holding the middle class and our economy hostage over a disagreement on tax cuts,” the letter states, as Congress returns to Washington this week to try to reach a deal that would avert the $500 billion mix of tax increases and budget cuts set to take effect in early January. …
The National Retail Federation was among the first Monday to take issue with the letter.
“It is encouraging to see the administration’s acknowledgment that retailers and their customers will be among the hardest hit if our elected officials fail to address ongoing economic uncertainty,” group spokesman Stephen Schatz said. “However … cherry-picking reforms only serves to reinforce the well-placed fears of American consumers and retailers that the status quo will once again rule the day.”
All of these claims to be looking out for the middle class are total garbage, of course, seeing as how nothing we’ve seen so far is going to harm the middle class in the long run as thoroughly as the rate at which the federal government is sinking us further into debt. So, once again, we get to witness the White House’s remarkable penchant for producing glossy campaign-like talking points full of accusatory spinmeistering, but as Senate Majority Mitch McConnell said on the floor earlier today, the level of substantive leadership is still severely wanting. From The Hill:
…McConnell said Republicans have made a concession in the talks on taxes but that Democrats have so far refused to produce real spending cuts to match.
“The only balanced approach is one that includes real and lasting reforms. So Republicans have stepped out of our comfort zone. We’ve been clear about what we’ll do and what we won’t. And yet we remain at an impasse,” he said.
“It’s time for the president to present a plan that rises above these reckless and radical voices on the hard left, that goes beyond the talking points of the campaign trail, and that has a realistic chance of passing the Congress,” he added.