Obama on the fiscal cliff: We can still get this done if everyone just gives a little bit

posted at 6:51 pm on December 21, 2012 by Allahpundit

I thought he might go out there and twist the knife on Boehner’s humiliation last night, claiming that the GOP can’t stop protecting millionaires from tax hikes even when their own Speaker is begging them to do it. Nope. He took the old, trusty above-the-fray approach, which makes sense under the circumstances. As wounded as Boehner is, O still needs him to get something passed, even if it’s a simple matter of convincing him to bring a compromise bill to the floor next week that the GOP hates in hopes that the Democrats plus 30 or so centrist Republicans can push it through. If Obama had seized the opportunity today to gloat over Plan B’s failure, it might have rallied the fractured GOP caucus behind Boehner, which in turn would have cost O his newfound leverage. By spooning out oatmeal about compromise and tax cuts for the middle class instead, he leaves Boehner alone to clean up his own mess.

Anyway. Someone explain to me what was gained last night by blocking Plan B. I realize the bill was never going to pass the Senate. So what? The point was to show Obama that House Democrats are irrelevant to this process because Boehner could muster a majority on his own. That would have forced O to move towards the GOP’s numbers on taxes to find a compromise; as it is, now that Boehner’s shown that he does need Democrats to pass something, O’s going to move in the opposite direction to make life easier for Pelosi. Case in point, he’s reportedly now weighing a bill that would allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on everyone who makes $250,000 or more, which will draw plenty of Democratic votes and a few from the Tom Cole wing of the GOP caucus. That threshold is lower than his previous compromise offer to Boehner, which limited the new tax hikes to people who earn $400,000 and up. If you make between $250K and $400K, last night’s fiasco may end up costing you a lot in extra taxes. As Conn Carroll put it, by thwarting Boehner, House conservatives essentially chose irrelevance by ensuring that their policy concerns are replaced by Democratic ones in the final bill. I could understand that if this was all part of a “let it burn” strategy, where the GOP decides to give the Democrats everything they want and then vote present in the interest of letting Dems take full responsibility for the economy, but they’re not letting it burn. Whatever finally passes will do so with a few dozen Republican votes. In which case, what’s been achieved by weakening Boehner’s hand? Is Philip Klein right that this all boils down essentially to a semantic distinction? I.e. in order for the GOP to keep its “no tax hikes” pledge, we first have to let those tax hikes take effect automatically on January 1 so that we can then vote to lower them rather than vote now to extend the current rates for everyone except a small class of millionaires? In other words, it’s better to have taxes go up on everyone who makes $250K+ next year than it is to ensure that they only go up for people who $400K+ (or even more) by making a deal right now? That can’t be what this is about, can it?

To some extent, I think Obama now holds Boehner’s Speakership in his hands. If he insists on lowering the income threshold for new taxes to $250,000 and refuses to budge, to the point where Boehner feels obliged to bring O’s plan to the floor and let Democrats pass it with a bit of Republican help, then he’s likely done as Speaker. There’ll be too much unhappiness among the GOP caucus over a deal like that for him to survive. The question for Obama is, would he prefer to deal with Boehner in the future or would he prefer a more conservative Speaker who’s likely to drive a harder bargain? It’s risky for him and the Dems to do anything that might lead to further budget standoffs with the GOP because, as president, O may ultimately be held responsible for the ensuing economic damage from those standoffs. If he wants to roll the dice on a more conservative Speaker, he needs to be very sure that the left’s message machine can successfully frame Republican congressmen as responsible for that damage ahead of 2014. If they can’t, then he’ll be stuck with a sluggish economy and a House that’s even more intractably opposed to his agenda with little relief to come at the polls two years from now.

Oh well. At least we know he’s taking this very, very seriously:


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


Comment pages: 1 2

Fixed! :)

Anti-Control on December 21, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Thank you, need sleep, jet lag.

JPeterman on December 21, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Yeah, adjourning the House is a great way to show the American people you’re negotiating in good faith.

libfreeordie on December 21, 2012 at 7:05 PM


Bmore on December 21, 2012 at 9:11 PM

So Prezuhdunce Full-of-It says if everyone gives just a little they can strike a deal? So what exactly has he given in these negotiations besides the finger?

stukinIL4now on December 21, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Good deal everyone is gone. Maybe we (the American people) should slip in take control and cut taxes and spending, thereby jump starting the economy and making everyone who works wealthier instead of poorer. What do you say? Who’s with me?!?!

Bmore on December 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM

In which case, what’s been achieved by weakening Boehner’s hand?

That we aren’t Boehner’s bitches AP. That is what is achieved. This is not the first time people were shut out and told they needed to get on board to “support” Boehner.

Conan on December 21, 2012 at 10:11 PM

“Everyone that is, but me,” said Obama.

sadatoni on December 21, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Obummer gave himself away near the end, calling himself a “hopeless optimist”. Hopeless? Absolutely! Optimist? Only from the perspective of a socialist.

Al_H on December 21, 2012 at 11:04 PM

Barky lies again – as is his way. Why does anyone even bother reporting the trash that dribbles out of his 84 IQ pea-brain? It’s laughable. It’s offensively laughable, as is Barky.

He should just go gorge himself on Chi-hua-hua and shut the hell up.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 1:26 AM

Absolutely nothing was gained by blocking Plan B. The fact House conservatives decided that making tax cuts permanent for the vast majority of people wasn’t good enough because millionaires would pay more-in a bill that wasn’t going to be signed into law anyway-and decided to undercut their own weak position as a result, is incredibly short-sighted.
changer1701 on December 21, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Exactly. But behold the courage of the “principled conservatives”! All sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing.

Buy Danish on December 22, 2012 at 8:13 AM

The point is that Boehner, after a month of secret negotiations that alarmed his caucus and only two weeks after pulling committee assignments from Tea Party congressmen (followed by a whip publicly commenting that the posts were pulled because the congressmen in question were “A-holes”), idiotically decided to demonstrate to Obama that he could deliver his caucus for tax increases, and he could not.

The details of the proposal dont matter at all: this was a vote of confidence and Boehner lost it. A more adept politician would never have called the vote, but, then again, a more adept politician wouldn’t have spent the last month alienating the very Tea Party caucus that had put him into the Speakership in the first place.

So, there’s your reason AP.

MTF on December 22, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Just like the “coexist” bumper stickers.

Just do whatever the muslims want and we’ll all be able to coexist peacefully.

acyl72 on December 22, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Why does anyone even bother reporting the trash that dribbles out of his 84 IQ pea-brain?

Owebama is NOT stupid. He knows exactly what he’s doing and Boehner played right into his hands. Boehner had no business calling for a vote.

Some blame the House for going home. What to do when the other side (owebama) went to Hawaii? I guess they could have all stayed and discussed things with themselves.

Bottom line: they are all jokes. Dems, GOP, Owebama. We the People are the losers. Our country is gone; now they want all our money.

katablog.com on December 22, 2012 at 10:02 AM

You know, there does seem to be one big assumption lot of those deriding the Plan B failure are making, and it’s that the Senate and Obama wouldn’t have turned around and said: “You know those Republicans are being uncompromsing, but in the interests of protecting the middle class, we’ll compromise for now and pass this bill despite our previous complaints about it.” That would have set it up so that the Dems would have gotten a tax increase, gotten all the political capital from compromising, and the Repubs would still have gotten just as tared as they are now. It would have moved the goalposts and let the Dems have a stronger hand in the next round.

Maybe it is just as well this happened.

StargazerA5 on December 22, 2012 at 10:11 AM

WH announces POTUS and First family will depart White House for Hawaii tonight.

— Major Garrett(@MajorCBS) December 21, 2012

So, the Sun King goes to Versailles while the people are dying in the streets. This worked out so well for the last Sun King.

Theophile on December 22, 2012 at 2:17 PM

So what exactly has he given in these negotiations besides the finger?

stukinIL4now on December 21, 2012 at 10:03 PM

That’s the point. Had the Republicans passed this compromise bill — which raises taxes on real millionaires, a position the Republicans have been against for months — and a position which Mr. Obama said he would veto — it would have been obvious to the American people just who was at fault for the logjam.

Instead, the Republicans look like a fractured, weak crew — which, of course, at this point they are.

In the upcoming negotiations, we will be negotiating from weakness, not strength. Having raised everyone’s taxes through inaction is not the way to win hearts and influence minds.

There’s no way Mr. Obama will be blamed for this now — he’s “above it all”, and, rewinding to Mr. Clinton’s days — he’s the one who will, in the end, reap the reward of this Republican train wreck.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Owebama is NOT stupid. He knows exactly what he’s doing and Boehner played right into his hands. Boehner had no business calling for a vote.

katablog.com on December 22, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Barky is a stone-cold idiot. He is as dumb as they come. But, he had nothing to do with any of this. Boner was negotiating against himself. Barky never offered anything.

Of course, Boner had no business calling for a vote. Boner had no business “negotiating” without a partner (as Barky has never negotiated anything in good faith – it’s not part of his cultural foundation) and, even in that, Boner had no business negotiating without asking those he was negotiating for how far he could go.

But, Barky had nothing to do with this as he never offered anything. This was all Boner beating himself up and expecting that the GOP was going to rubber stamp any idiocy he proposed.

In trading, Boner did what we would call “eighthing himself” but he did it over and over and he did it without having the authorization to even make any of the offers. He’s an idiot. He should be run out of Washington. Of course, the House bears some responsibility in all this since they should have thrown the dipsh!t out of the Speakership by March of 2011. Why the House GOP let this fool stay in the Speakership for all this time (when he has done tons of serious damage, including “negotiating” this pathetic Sequester as the giveback from Barky and the Dems in order to raise the debt limit for them last time – LOL)is totally beyond me. It has been too obvious for years that Boner was destructive and stupid. Heck, that fool couldn’t even bring himself to force one full reading of ObamaCare on the floor in order to stop or slow its passage. That’s why I NEVER supported the idiot for Speaker and never understood anyone who did.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 22, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Maybe it is just as well this happened.

StargazerA5 on December 22, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Mr. Obama had said he would veto this bill. That’s part of the political game — if the other side won’t negotiate with you, you do something to shift the blame to the other side.

There was no way this bill was going to reach Mr. Obama. It incorporated Mr. Obama’s horse-trading on entitlements, and it went beyond Mr. Obama’s negotiated position of keeping the tax cuts for those making $750K or less. The Democrats were already screaming at the fact that Mr. Obama had negotiated cuts in entitlements, and this thing wasn’t going to get through the Senate at all — for to do so would be to completly throw the Democrats off their game as the supposed protectors of the greyest generation.

Mr. Boehner had already gotten some give-in from Mr. Obama on the matter of entitlements — and had included those wins in the bill. He’d already protected about nearly one hundred percent of the middle class and the rich (there really aren’t that many people making $1M or more). As much as we might be against raising taxes, this was an excellent time to win some street cred which would serve us well in the next election. Instead, we now look like a bunch of has-beens.

I see nothing good of this — nothing good at all.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2012 at 2:27 PM

No Democrat proposal has included even a penny of actual spending reduction.

What is there to negotiate???

The Democrats are pretending that they already have agreement to “no limit on spending…EVER,” and are trying to get the Republicans bickering about the size and shape of the white flag to be used in the formal surrender.

But no such agreement has been secured. We will not sacrifice our children and grandchildren to government.

landlines on December 23, 2012 at 10:33 PM

I firmly believe that not passing this was the best possible outcome. Let the cuts expire, let the cliff happen. Let everyone who voted for Obama now get to experience that what he voted for. This is a good move by the Conservative Caucus. Now if they play it right we can remove Boehner from office. Next is McConnell.

coduh82 on December 24, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Comment pages: 1 2