For a long time, many of us here have decried pre-compromise and urged the President to fight Republicans, even if it means that a deal won't be done. Well, President Obama appears to be doing it now:
But Obama and his advisers continue to rebuff the GOP’s overtures, such as they are. Rather than signaling a willingness to compromise at the outset, as Obama and Dems repeatedly have done previously, Obama advisers continue to insist the GOP must pass his whole jobs package.
The exchange this morning on ABC News between Obama senior adviser David Axelrod and George Stepanopoulos is notable:STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it all or nothing?Stephanopoulos is echoing the GOP framing of the debate here, but Axelrod isn’t taking the bait. Even if Obama advisers don’t expect the plan to pass in its current form, and are staking out this hard line only to strengthen their leverage, that alone is notable, and represents an effort to try a new approach, one rooted in a more accurate reading of the current political reality than the one that drove Obama’s approach in past standoffs. Make no mistake: If this approach holds, it’s a major reset.
AXELROD: The President has a package. The package works together. We need to do many things to get this economy moving and people back to work, not just one thing. Tokenism isn’t enough. We want them to pass the plan. The American people want them to pass the plan. We don’t want to play games. We don’t want to engage in brinkmanship. We want to put people back to work. This package will do that. They ought to act now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it’s all or nothing?
AXELROD: We want them to act now on this package. We’re not in a negotiation to break up the package. It’s not an a la carte menu. It is a strategy to get this country moving.
WaPo, Greg Sergant, The Plum Line
I like this reset. It's what I wanted, many of us wanted.
There will always be some criticism (it's too late, it is only rhetorical because the Republican House won't pass anything), but this is what many of us have been clamoring for for a long time. No pre-compromise, no "caving," fighting the Rs.
Credit where credit is due. We should support President Obama in his fight against Republicans.
The DNC is going up in battleground states with TV ads about the jobs bill.
The next election is 14 months away. And the people who sent us here -- the people who hired us to work for them -- they don’t have the luxury of waiting 14 months. Some of them are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck, even day to day. They need help, and they need it now.
And members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities.
I see this as a new beginning. Let's work to re-elect the President and defeat Republicans in Congress. The two are intertwined.
Update I: From the comments quoting Politico article:
President Obama would approve of Congress passing his jobs bill in pieces, as the Republican leaders appear inclined to do, White House economic adviser Gene Sperling says.
Sperling told reporters at a jobs summit that the administration will make a “strong push” for Congress to pass the plan all at once, but that if it is approved piece by piece, the White House will continue to prod lawmakers on the rest of it.
Sperling’s assertion contradicts the claim made by Obama adviser David Axelrod, who said this morning: "We’re not in a negotiation to break up the package, and it’s not an a la carte menu. It is a strategy to get this country moving."
Sperling v. Axelrod?
Awaiting clarification. Politico is a right wing rag and does not provide a full quote.
Update II: A quote from Sperling:
If Obama were “presented with parts of his plan, his instinct would be not to reject things he favored but to come back and keep fighting and fighting to get the entire program,” Sperling said Tuesday.
Update III: And the answer from Obama:
But Obama has acknowledged that Congress may not give him everything he is asking for in the jobs bill.
"Obviously, if they pass parts of it, I am not going to veto those parts," Obama said Monday during a roundtable with Hispanic journalists.
"I will sign it, but I will then say, give me the rest and I will keep on making that argument as long as the need is there to put people back to work the get the economy moving," he added.
So he will sign what they pass and keep fighting for the whole package. And blame the Republicans for the lack of jobs because they failed to pass the whole thing.
It's not "all or nothing," but since he thinks the pieces of the plan will help, it would be inconsistent to veto I suppose.
More fight than before, but I prefer a veto and message to pass the entire bill. We'll never get that kind of fight. This is improvement from before. So I'm still glad.
Update IV: Greg Sargent's take on this makes sense and makes me a bit more hopeful than I was with Sperling's comment;
Sperling seemed to be saying that Obama will still push hard for the full bill’s passage, but if the House GOP passes parts of it — something the White House has no control over — Obama wouldn’t turn them down. Why would Obama vow not to accept parts of his own bill when he says they would create jobs? There’s a difference between saying what Sperling said and saying Obama is willing to compromise on a smaller package and call it a day. Sperling did not say the latter. He said Obama would go back and hammer the GOP for passage of the rest of the bill. It’s unclear whether getting parts passed and then continuing the fight would trade away any leverage, given that all of the bill’s proposals have public support.
Sperling’s quotes seem more like a recognition of the current political reality than anything else. No one ever thought the House GOP would pass the entire bill to begin with. What really matters over the long haul is: 1) How aggressive a campaign Obama wages for full passage; 2) what Obama ends up in the way of jobs policy in the end; and 3) what Dems give up on the deficit “supercommittee.” It’s very possible we’ll all be disappointed by the overall outcome. But I’m not sure Sperling’s quotes necessarily signal anything definitive about where this is headed