The Deficit Negotiations: Obama Gives Up the Store & Gets Nothing in Return

President Obama is always one step behind. His inability to frame the debt debate early on has created a situation where he once again will be forced to give up everything, including Democratic party principles, in return for a whole lot of nothing. That Obama and his people don’t “get” this, is alarming given we’ve seen the same sort of inability to sell his policies with respect to health care reform, his Mideast policies and the budget debate where he extended the Bush tax cuts. Each time he has sent the message to the Republicans that if they stick to their principles, no matter how extreme and dangerous, he’ll be sure to sacrifice his principles on the altar of compromise (assuming he actually has principles).

After his speech last night, it now looks like he will not veto the crappy Boehner’s crappy short-term bill that will likely end up on his desk despite his initial claims he would do just that- veto it. So of course the GOP is going to call his bluff. This is a common theme with Obama- announce lofty principles and then back down and the slightest push back and then dress up the whole thing like it’s some sort of grand bargain or compromise.

Obama’s arrogance knows no bounds. He seems to think that his willingness to give up the store and sell out middle America signifies that he is the only adult in the room, willing to compromise to get things done but that’s just not the case. The GOP is not interested in compromise- they are only interested in defeating the Democrats in 2012 and if they have to destroy the U.S. economy to do it, well then, so be it. Obama has not been compromising, he has been capitulating. There is a big difference.

Everyone understands that with divided government there will need to be some compromise, but that’s not what this is- in a compromise, BOTH sides give up something of value but time and time again it’s only the democrats who are willing to do that.

If Obama won’t stand up to the GOP now, when will he? There is absolutely no reason to think he ever will. If Boehner gets his way regarding this very short-term debt ceiling fix, Obama will spend the next six months or so having to make the case again that it’s prudent to raise the debt ceiling when he should be talking about jobs, jobs, jobs. This plays right into the GOP’s grand political strategy of forcing another debt ceiling fight prior to the 2012 election, which for them is another opportunity to hold the U.S. economy hostage to draconian budget cuts.

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About Stacy

Attorney, Publisher, Foreign Policy wonk

View all posts by Stacy


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