Monday, December 3, 2012

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Welll, The Republicans recently rejected President Obama's proposals on avoiding the so called "Fiscal Cliff.." What else is new?  I'll tell you..President Obama has had to endure some deeply unpleasant experiences with Congress over the last couple of years, but the result of the incidents taught him some very valuable lessons.

It's clear, especially after last year's ridiculous debt-ceiling crisis, that the president now knows exactly how to negotiate with these reckless, radicalized Tea Party controlled and influenced Republicans.

For years,Mr. Obama has hoped to strike deals by being conciliatory, starting with opening offers designed to satisfy Republican demands. These efforts repeatedly failed miserably, and only emboldened GOP leaders to demand agreements tilted heavily in their favor.

Fine, the president is now saying. Let's start with an ambitious plan designed to make Democrats happy, and see how that works out. The days of preemptive concessions and negotiating from a defensive crouch are over.

Republicans seemed stunned late yesterday while condemning Obama's offer, as if the president shouldn't have the audacity to present a plan he knows they won't like. But I'd remind GOP lawmakers that everything in Obama's proposal is consistent with his previous budget plans and the policies he presented to the public during the recent national campaign (which by the way, he won fairly easily, somebody say 326 -206 electoral votes, 3 million more in the popular vote....MANDATE BABY!!!).

Indeed, President Obama is acting like a confident, re-elected president who expects congressional Republicans to start moving in his direction, not the other way around. GOP leaders aren't accustomed to this dynamic, but it's probably time they adapt to their new surroundings. This is the way it's going to be.

For the left, if there must be a focus on debt reduction, the White House proposal is the right way to do it. The plan roughly meets the broad outline House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) says he wants, but does so in the most progressive way possible.

 Indeed, President Obama's offer -- which was leaked by Republicans, not formally presented to the public by the administration -- even includes additional economic stimulus in the form of infrastructure spending, extended jobless aid, and an extension of the payroll tax break.

And did I mention it calls for the elimination of the debt-ceiling law altogether? It does that, too.About damn time.

Republicans, not surprisingly, absolutely hate everything about the president's proposal, and that was the expected reaction. But the point of an offer like this is to set the parameters of the debate -- President Obama will no longer make GOP satisfaction his primary goal -- and press Republicans to put on their big-boy pants for a change.

Throughout the recent negotiations, Republicans have said they want entitlement cuts, but they won't say which ones. Republicans have said they'll accept new revenue, but they won't say how or where the revenue would come from. Republicans have said they'll make concessions on deductions, but they won't say which ones. Republicans have said they expect deep spending cuts, but they've offered no specifics. Sound Familiar? Sounds just like the campaign rhetoric.

As of this morning, there's one plan on the table, and it's President Obama's. Boehner & Co. don't like it? Fine. Where's their competing plan?
Republicans desperately want the president to negotiate with himself -- keep presenting increasingly conservative ideas until GOP leaders say they're satisfied. President Obama clearly isn't willing to play the clown in that circus anymore.

It's a new world...Get used to it!

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