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View Diary: Some congressional Democrats recognize importance of Super Congress failure (81 comments)

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  •  Once again, (8+ / 0-)

    the Republicans were going to raise the debt ceiling anyway. They said as much often and publicly. There was never a majority for a default or a filibuster for a default. There were never enough votes for it. There was always a majority that would vote for the debt ceiling. This was a known fact that the GOP leadership never hid from the public.

    The problem was that WE, the Democrats, mainly the President, decided that budget issues and debt ceiling had to be linked. We didn't have to. We chose to. We weren't forced to. We chose to. And that is why we ended up negotiating with terrorists, despite the fact that it never, ever works.

    •  They wouldn't be terrorists (0+ / 0-)

      if they always planned on raising the debt ceiling.

      I'd suggest you either alter your argument or your incendiary verbiage.

    •  that's a very easy position to take (0+ / 0-)

      in hindsight.  would they have raised it without this sort of cover that made it look like cuts might actually happen?  who knows.  All that enough of the republicans had to do was absolutely nothing, and then point the finger at Obama since, rightly or wrongly (mostly wrongly) he owns the economy.  If it came to a vote, perhaps it passes.  But why would Boehner risk it if it also meant his speakership? (make no mistake: he'd play in blood if Obama forced him to raise the vote.)  Then the question is why help Boehner's political career?  I think the answer lies in how easy he is to run against.

      It does seem increasingly clear that Obama won the round of negotiations (as seemed clear to me at the time, once the medicare cuts weren't immediate -- if he actually wanted them, debt ceiling talks were about the only way to get away with selling out).  I do think Obama does see some upside in trying to press for some reforms, but it's not unreasonable here because his downside was clearly limited to the triggers he only pretends to care about, and the upside was maybe this would be enough to get the GOP to raise taxes.  (I refuse to believe there aren't cost savings to be found in medicare without compromising patient care.  Hell, just scrap Part D and do it properly from the beginning.)

      Anyway, Obama's already more or less moved on.  

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 12:23:21 PM PST

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      •  Not hindsight, foresight. (3+ / 0-)
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        denise b, cybersaur, HCKAD

        After the beating he took in the polls?  Of course he moved on.

        He didn't have to engage in any of that mess in the first place, as people like me were advising long prior to the "grand bargain" disaster. The White House had the right position initially by saying they wouldn't "play politics" with the debt ceiling, but then President Obama changed and promptly went about doing exactly that.

        This whole thing of focusing on jobs and staying far away from Congressional deficit negotiations...yeah...that was me saying that 10 months ago. Not hindsight. Foresight.

        •  One other way to look at this... (0+ / 0-)

          If as a Democrat you wanted to get reductions in defense spending seriously on the table, what would be a strategic way to go about doing that?

          Its the conversation we're likely to be having over the next few months...imagine that!

          •  You know what the public cares about? (1+ / 0-)
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            Jobs. Not defense spending reductions.

            So yeah...I'm in Bill Daley's shoes. I'm telling him "Sir...let Congress worry about the deficit. You just tell them you refuse to negotiate over the debt ceiling and about we put this American Jobs Act out there and spend our time talking about that!"

            Again, my main point is that nobody came out of that disaster ahead. Nobody. The correct approach is the one being taken now. Its just a shame that it took a fiasco like that to realize it.

        •  It's foresight to the extent (0+ / 0-)

          you accurately predicted the consequences of a bill that wasn't enacted?  To the extent it's foresight it means this deal was quite close to a clean debt ceiling rise, which means on some level that the republicans would have agreed to it but also that they more or less did agree to it, so it's not entirely vindication of any position except the notion that Obama was attacked mostly unfairly.  It doesn't say anything about what might have happened had the negotiations not included a few face-saving measures.  

          It'll be easy to repeal just the bush tax cuts for the rich assuming dems take the house and hold the senate and white house.  And if they don't?  The immediate problem of the hostage taking might have been solved, but not the circumstances -- the deficit -- that led to it in the first place.  To that extent, it's a missed opportunity.  And how do you know when the decision to "pivot to jobs" was actually made?  The unemployment figures no doubt played a role as well as polling, but dealing with the debt ceiling in a way that didn't result in a crisis still presented the opportunity, especially timed in early September, which is a good time to launch products, per Andy Card.

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 12:40:08 PM PST

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          •  Again.. (1+ / 0-)
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            I think we are talking past each other. My point is that the negotiations should not have taken place in the first place because they were not necessary. Not politically. Not practically.

            What you saw last Summer was Bill Daley in full-on collapse because it has been reported that it was his idea to negotiate the Grand Bargain in the first place, most centrists do, that deficit reduction is super important to the public. It isnt. The bargain failed. So what you got in the debt deal was McConnell-Reid, which I wrote about at the time.

            If the McConnell/Reid negotiations come up with the plan that cuts $1.5 trillion with no changes to Social Security and Medicare, that is about as close a thing to a draw that Democrats are going to get, sadly. This cuts less than $2 trillion as of today, but they may get there. The president wants cuts. He wants cuts, and he wants his "big deal," but there is no way any of that is going to get through Congress. "Pain on all sides" isn't exactly an appealing plan, no matter how "adult in the room" it seems to people in the White House. It being his nature to value compromise, I have no doubt that he will approve whatever comes of bipartisan negotiations. That's his thing.

            You all don't seem to remember that Obama and Boehner broke off negotiations near the end and Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell took over the negotiations.

            My point is that the President could have just left it there in the first place and avoided the political catastrophe that ensued.

            I believe that is the major reason Daley has been sidelined.

            •  yes, and my point was (1+ / 0-)
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              what catastrophe?  it seemed based on a misreading of what Obama was trying to do -- Reid/McConnell didn't happen either, so I question its relevance.

              Either way, the case that this was a big mistake on Obama's part rests too much on speculation or approximation.  Daley's as much a literary character as he is a real person at this point. But my position is simply, if things are looking up at this point -- and they seem to be -- it's probably not an accident.  The short-term polling hit therefore rested on misperceptions.  

              The risk, though, is unless Obama is reelected with a D House, we're back to where we started, so it made some sense for Obama to try to tackle the deficit on something approaching reasonable terms knowing neither is guaranteed, especially his own reelection.  To the same degree it wouldn't help reelection, it wouldn't hurt.  What's more, getting credibility on the deficit likely helped, not hurt, the idea of pushing for job creation when he did.  It nullified one of the key contra arguments, so all that was left was the GOP going on record against jobs.  So i don't even see it as a tactical error, much less a strategic one.  

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 01:39:50 PM PST

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              •  I don't see how anyone (1+ / 0-)
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                could have planned this many moves ahead. I mean that's some serious chess-playing. I think it takes some extraordinary imagination to think the President of the United States had plan to bring about a debt ceiling negotiation that he knew wouldnt work out in order to get a debt ceiling deal that brought about a credit downgrade, in order to create a supercommittee that was designed to fail, all so he could turn his attention to jobs. I mean...for that to be I just cant stop laughing at that.

                Seems more likely that the Occam explanation makes the most sense. The president wanted a grant bargain deficit negotiation deal. He figured the debt ceiling part of it that the GOP was using as leverage was an opportunity to do a big deal to reduce the deficit. His chief adviser recommended this course of action. He negotiated in good faith for one but it didnt work out. He took a big hit in the polls. He then gave up on that and turned his attention to jobs.

                I mean seriously. The 11th dimensional arguments can only be so plausible. None of that explanation seems to conform with any of the obvious confirmable facts. Furthermore, I haven't heard a single source, from an administration leak to a reporter, say that all the moves that occurred this summer were a part of a grand strategy. Certainly hasnt come from the president.

                All I was saying was...just skip that whole summer deficit thing and go straight to American Jobs Act. Congress would raise the debt ceiling anyway. They all said so. Thats my point.

                •  i think you only have to go back to (0+ / 0-)

                  the debt negotiations itself.  although there was a press conference he gave in the lame duck that a lot of people interpreted as him not anticipating GOP hostage taking (going against your theory, btw), but actually showed Obama was well aware of it, sending a subtle warning.   I speak law professor well enough to translate.

                  What I think happened is he knew going in he'd have to give up something, but saw some opportunity to induce the GOP to back down on taxes.  When they overreached instead  Obama was probably simply able to infer from the overreach that  the GOP would give a debt ceiling rise if it had the appearance of making cuts, and from there the administration was well positioned to throw the GOP rhetoric back in their faces, since Boehner already revealed that he was afraid of the consequences.  Put another way, Boehner showed he was willing to let the talks fail rather than make a deal on a "grand bargain."  As Boehner himself is not crazy, all he needed was the appearance, and so Obama had him trapped.  (I've seen this plenty of times -- a lawyer making ridiculous demands simply to get his client to back off.)

                  In a way that vindicates the principle that negotiations on the debt ceiling weren't strictly speaking necessary, but (a) it's not clear they knew this until Boehner was forced by his caucus to overreach, and (b) depending on the details, some sort of deficit bargain might have been worth pushing for.

                  And the AJA was a better sell once the GOP had been maneouvered into position on taxes and Obama had the high ground on the deficit.  Most people don't care, but those who do control (a) the media, (b) districts formerly held by blue dogs, so a democratic congressional majority.

                  "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                  by Loge on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 03:13:47 PM PST

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