I keep hearing about what a terrible negotiator President Obama is because even though he got his middle class tax cuts, and all the rest of the goodies in the bill, and only had to give on raising the tax cuts from 250k to 450k, somehow he's giving up his ability to bargain with Republicans going forward into the debt ceiling talks.
I'm sorry, but what the hell is it that the Republicans have as an advantage over Obama going forward into the debt ceiling talks? President Obama got his tax cuts for the middle class. That's what he wanted. That's all he's wanted for 4 years. What else does he want? Nothing. He wants nothing else.
So, all he has to do now is say no in the debt ceiling negotiations until the Republicans give up, because he's not running for re-election and they are. He's not going to get blamed for damage to the country and they are. He is holding the only card that matters in this game... he doesn't want anything. The Republicans have nothing to hold hostage if there's not a hostage.
Oh, but the Republicans are so insane that they will drive the country and the world off of an economic cliff to oblivion to get what they want from President Obama. No they won't. Don't believe your own election spin. They aren't that stupid. If you actually think it's possible that they are that stupid then all you need to do is look at what happened last night and tonight. They caved. Because they had everything to lose and President Obama only had one thing to lose: getting his middle class tax cuts.
I am kind of surprised to have to write this in a diary tonight. I thought that was obvious all along. Obama extended all the tax cuts in 2010 to get a 2 year extension on the middle class tax cuts. That's always what he cared about. Not just because he'd probably have lost re-election if taxes had been raised on the middle class while he was President, especially during a recession, but also because he cares about he middle class. I know that is unbelievable to some people, but it's the truth.
I was never concerned about this fiscal cliff. The GOP were never going to go for a grand bargain, because they won't give up what a grand bargain would require them to give up. Not even for what Democrats would have to give up in return. But I knew they would compromise on tax cuts, because tax cuts are their thing. They would destroy what shreds are left of the GOP brand if they caused everyone's taxes to go up. They were always going to compromise.
Of course, now, they are trying to put a positive light on it saying they took away President Obama's negotiating power. LOL!! Yeah, thanks for those goodies in the tax cut bill, you hard negotiators you! What are we getting from you for cutting military spending in the debt ceiling negotiations? Single payer health care?
It's funny, I hear some people saying Obama was playing chess and some people mocking that idea, but the truth is that Obama was playing poker. He really wanted those middle class tax cuts and he was willing to bargain for them. But in the end, he knew that if the idiots on the other side of the aisle weren't going to bargain for them, he'd get them anyway, because they wanted them even more than he did.
Anyway, on to gun control and immigration. Oh, yeah, yeah, we're never getting to that because the GOP are hostage takers. Here's a news flash: they were bluffing. We WILL get to gun control and immigration and the other issues. Count on it!
Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:12 PM PT: I wrote the following in a comment below and for anyone who stumbles onto this diary, i think it help clarify what i am saying:
basically, i think that Obama ran for President with a handful of agenda items that he wanted to make sure that he got done. things like health insurance reform and immigration reform and addressing climate change. he isn't driven by ideology to do these things. he just cares about how these things affect people and he wants to try to help people out by addressing these issues.
when it comes to fiscal policy, i think that the one agenda item he came in 4 years ago wanting to do what make middle class tax cuts permanent. of course, he wants to be a responsible president and he's addressing other fiscal issues, but i think that the tax cuts for the middle class is the only thing that is up there with health insurance and dadt.
things that Obama is willing to give up on other things to get. things that Obama works on and doesn't quit on until he gets no matter how bleak the outcome is looking for him. no matter that nobody actually believes he'll get it.
i probably should have said all of this as a set up for my diary, because my diary is kind of vague otherwise.
so, yeah, does Obama care about other things in the coming fiscal debates? sure. but he doesn't care about them the way he cares about middle class tax cuts. which i think he cares about because he knows that the middle class needs them. middle class incomes have stagnated and declined for a long time now and for people in the middle class the tax cuts were a relief not extra income. they need those tax cuts.
maybe when our economy has become less stratified then we can raise tax rates again, but while the rich continue to get richer and richer and the middle class are getting more poor (quoting Bulworth here), the tax rates for the middle class need to stay low.