1. End tax breaks for the middle class
2. Shut down the government
3. Cause a global economic crisis
...we've seen a pretty consistent strategy and have named it well.
What we haven't done is take a look at what we can learn from real life hostage negotiators about what to do in these circumstances. I've always doubted that a tactic they would recommend is drawing a line in the sand for the hostage-taker. That seems pretty destined to fail.
So today I googled to see what we can find on-line about the principles of hostage negotiations. And I came across this. Its from the web site of the "Program on Negotiation" at Harvard Law School (hmmmm, you mean those elitists? LOL).
They identify 5 lessons we can learn from hostage negotiators:
1. Gain control of the situation by insisting on one-on-one talks.
2. Explore the feelings underlying the other side’s demands.
3. Allow heated emotions to defuse through the passage of time.
4. Collaborate on solving the other party’s short-term problems.
5. Help your counterpart save face when you come out ahead.
Now that's interesting! Sounds exactly like what President Obama does with the Republicans, doesn't it? And yet, the standard critique of him from both the left and right is that he's a lousy negotiator. What I've thought for a long time is that assumption comes - not from professional negotiators - but from ideologues who want to dominate the conversation and are willing to risk calamity to do so.
Those tips also sound a lot like the reflections contained in one of my favorite diaries ever written on Daily Kos by Aikidopilgrim in which he compared Obama's style with the Aikido Way. He explains that change requires four things from us:
1] We must maintain our own balance while taking theirs
2] We must react fearlessly
3] We must enter into the very center of the conflict
4] We must understand our opponent's intentions in order to achieve resolution
Eleven-dimensional chess? I suppose that's what it sounds like to those who don't know how to learn from the experts.