Analyzing Obama's Debt Ceiling Press Conference: Throwing All the Hard Votes Together

  I watched the President's press conference. He seems a little tired, but his performance was nonetheless masterful from a purely political perspective. He's definitely positioned himself perfectly to rebuff all contradiction. Sure, progressives might be asking why he's even talking about deficit reduction when unemployment is over nine percent. They don't understand why Social Security has to take any hit whatsover, and they're not eager to make any cuts to Medicare or Medicaid. But Republicans have been left with no argument. The president is saying, "Okay, you think that we'll improve the economy and create jobs by getting our fiscal situation under control? I'm willing to try your solution. Let's go." And the Republicans don't want to attempt the one solution they've been offering because it will require very rich people to make some sacrifices.

To get an idea of how dysfunctional the Republican Party has become, the president is offering a deal that almost every single progressive in the country hopes the Republicans will reject. And, yet, the Republicans are rejecting the deal. This is a sweet deal for Republicans. It contains a lot more cuts than new revenues. That alone should make it attractive to conservatives. But it also comes with a promise to do tax reform, which should result in significant savings for most Republican voters. It comes with cuts to entitlements, which is something Democrats really hate doing, especially now because it mutes their criticism of the Ryan Plan. It's an approach that, on the whole, represents the conservative alternative to Keynesian economics, thus validating their ideology.

Despite all of this, the Republicans seem incapable of saying 'yes.'

I'm not happy with the Republicans, but I'm also not thrilled with the president. His politics are pitch-perfect. I'll give him that. And I guess that's probably the most I can hope for right now. But Social Security should not be part of this deal just because he wants to throw all hard votes together and get them done all at once.

I understand what he's saying. He's arguing that he wants to take all the Republican talking points and deal with them. Cut the deficit. Control spending. Tackle entitlements. And then once all that is addressed we can move on to talking sensibly about politics and make sane investments.

It would be interesting to see what the Republicans would complain about if this grand deal went through, but it's delusional to think they'd stop bitching about taxes, entitlements, and deficits. Other than God, guns, gays, and embryos, those are the only things they know how to talk about.

In any case, if Boehner can't deliver the votes, we're still screwed. I hope he values the health of the country more than his leadership position, but I doubt it.


Booman Tribune / By Booman

Posted at July 11, 2011, 6:48am

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