Why didn’t Congress and the White House manage to reach a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction? According to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, it has absolutely nothing to do with President Obama. President Obama has been nothing but an approachable and capable leader this entire time, and the fault is entirely that of those spiteful and dithering Republicans.
…Is this real life?
This president has been so respectful, given so much time to the Republicans, to the point that one time in one of our meetings, I said to the president: ‘Mr. President, I’m busy, and I don’t have any more time for this. You have to be the busiest person in the world. If and when they come up with a new idea, why don’t we just call you back into the room.’ Because he has tried so hard to listen, to accommodate, to be respectful of their points of view. No, I do not think this is why we didn’t reach a grand bargain. We didn’t reach a grand bargain because the Speaker of the House walked away from an agreement that he and the president had arrived at, probably because he couldn’t sell it to his own caucus. And I don’t care what anybody else says about that.
Puh-lease. With all of these ‘manufactured crises’ so far, President Obama’s entire strategy has consisted of not much more than riding roughshod over Republicans. In the sequestration showdown alone, he didn’t merely impugn Republicans’ polices, he impugned their motives, and didn’t demonstrate any kind of real leadership other than his campaign skills. Peggy Noonan hit the nail on the head last week:
The “We’re not speaking” thing with Congress is more amazing and historic than we appreciate. Only a president can stop that kind of thing, and he doesn’t. He doesn’t even seem to think he owes the speaker of the House—the highest elected official of a party representing roughly half the country—even the appearance of laying down his arms for a moment and holding serious talks. He journeys into America making speeches, he goes on TV but only for interviews the White House is confident will be soft. …
But here’s what seems really new. Past presidents, certainly since Ronald Reagan, went over the heads of the media to win over the people, to get them to contact Congress and push Congress to deal. Fine, and fair enough. But Mr. Obama goes to the people to get them to enhance his position by hating Republicans. He’s playing only to the polls, not to Congress, not to get the other side to the bargaining table. He doesn’t even like the bargaining table. He doesn’t like bargaining.