Thursday, January 3, 2013

What if Obama had taken some liberal's advice?

Those on the left who are complaining the loudest about the deal reached on the so-called "fiscal cliff" had some advice for the President...go off the cliff. With complete disregard for those who would have lost their lifeline - unemployment benefits - these folks thought that somehow the lunatics in the Republican Party (who they constantly suggest the President shouldn't negotiate with because they're so intransigent) would come around in the new Congress and pass a bill that would give President Obama a clear "win."

Apparently the White House didn't agree with them.
The president did not believe the dynamic would suddenly shift in his favor after Jan. 1, rejecting the conventional wisdom in Washington that all sides would have more flexibility after higher tax rates took effect. Republicans were no more likely to compromise after the deadline than before it, the White House concluded. And there was a very real fear that a resolution wouldn’t come for weeks, perhaps not before the country hit the debt limit in late February — a nightmare scenario that the president believed would destroy not only his leverage but also the still-fragile economy.

The chaos on New Year’s Day in the House validated the president’s strategy to find a solution now, White House aides said.
Nuff said.

But Michael Tomasky makes another good point.
If Obama had done what these liberals wanted and sent any signals as the New Year approached that he was ready to go over the cliff, the House Republicans would have publicized that, and then, if we had gone over the cliff, Obama would have shared the blame. It was Obama’s strict, good-faith adherence to the deadline that helped shift all the blame to the Republicans, and that is what made them play ball.
In saying that, perhaps Mr. Tomasky is beginning to grasp the idea of conciliatory rhetoric as ruthless strategy.


  1. The people dumping on the president aren't thinking about the people getting unemployment checks that would've expired yesterday. Those guys are something else. The president got a pretty good deal and it looks like he's getting another one a few months from now. The GOP can't govern so it's only right to take advantage of them.


    My message to the media borrowed from driftglass.

    1. The link is not work safe.


  2. Senora Smartypants, you are laying down some really pithy and strong points lately. Between you, Booman and Steve Benen, I feel like I get a pretty clear picture.

  3. 'Afternoon, Ms. Pants


    Lawrence O'Donnell, now, addresses this BEAUtifully. Should be mandatory viewing for all of the howling Left. Plus, it's just a bit over four minuets.

  4. Sometimes I get the feeling that the liberals criticizing Obama would rather see him fuck up so they can be proven right rather than see him succeed and have to admit they're wrong. It's as if they're rooting against him.

    And let me echo Blackman's comment about Lawrence O'Donnell, who has given full-throated support to Obama's deal-making skills &
    accomplishments during the fiscal cliff negotiations.

  5. I wish they kept Lawrence in the 8 o'clock time slot. He gives decent breakdowns to DC shenanigans. I don't really care for second guessing everything the does at this point. What more does he have to do?

  6. There is another big division in political circles. The Red-Blue, Left-Right issue may be less profound on the Blue-Left side than the division between those whose views are formed from outside sources (bogs, pundits, tweets, etc.) and those who have been activists and/or policy makers. The latter, including O'Donnell, all see the world VERY differently since they have to do the heavy lifting of both creating change and then solidifying it into law. They know about compromise, cutting losses to get done what is absolutely needed, serving constituents and the general welfare well.

    We who read bills, pursue heavy analysis, talk to other policy people doing the same will always take the long view, be less ideological, and be far more oriented to the care of people directly impacted by what decisions we and our other elected people make. We can't afford ideological purity at the expense of people.

    THAT is the biggest division in this Fiscal Cliff matter - and Anonymous above nailed it by citing the great damage that would have been done to those on unemployment. It also would have made Obama appear to have abetted the damage. Policy folks aren't the only voices in town - but they are often head and shoulders above the fray with good, calm, useful insights into reality.


why i've been awol

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