In his press conference or speech this afternoon, he should be very straight forward, and say that the people have spoken, and want the Republican party to have a shot at crafting a balanced budget that will also put the country on a path toward eliminating its debt.
But, the voters also clearly said they want to keep tax cuts for the wealthy, and do not want any cuts to Medicare of Social Security.
So, he should "graciously" offer the Republicans the opportunity to pass what the voters wanted. Namely, a balanced budget that perpetuates the Bush tax cuts, and does not cut medicare or social security.
He should say that he looks forward to reviewing their budget. He should also say that it would be inappropriate for him to put forward his own budget under the circumstances, as clearly the voters wanted the new Republican majority to do so.
This, of course, would immediately screw the Republican party in a big way. Because we all know that crafting a balanced budget without touching Social Security or Medicare -- or by extending the Bush tax cuts -- is virtually impossible. Especially if -- as we also know -- the GOP is unlikely to cut the pentagon or homeland security budgets either. And, if they do -- great! We are not going to complain much.
Moreover, repealing health care reform will actually add to the defecit, not reduce it.
The best part is that Obama will come off looking very reasonable and concilliatory toward the Republicans. He will look like he's honoring the outcome of the election and very magnanimously offering theRepublicans an oportunity to put forward tehir agenda -- knowing full well that there is no way they can deliver on that agenda.
And, this may open up a civil war within the new GOP majority between the small government tea partiers and the GOP pragmatists. The tea party faction will want to go after social security and medicare. The pragmatists will understand that this is not what the voters want, and will likely cost them big in 2012.
Also, the standard GOP trick of only offering to cut medicare and social security benefits for FUTURE beneficiaries (wink) will also be a non-starter because Obama will be demanding a balanced budget NOW (along with the voters, heh), which means immediate benfit cuts to current Social Security and medicare recipients. The very base voters of the current GOP House majority who threw just threw an angry hissy fit on this very subject.
Let's see if Obama does something like this today. Or, if we get more of the same demoralizing bi-partisanship fetishism.
ADDENDUM: One final point. Obama could basically blow up the GOP coalition and unmask them as the frauds that they are by publicly declaring that he will veto any budget that cuts medicare or social security benefits. Of course, Obama will have the Catfood Commission waiting in the wings. So, his message will be undercut somewhat. Just one of the self-inflicted wounds that cannot be blamed on President Snowe or Ben Nelson.
But, Obama could say that he is honoring the will of the voters and the outcome of the election, and scrap the Commission's recommendation. Either way, it's a no lose proposition for Obama and the Democrats. Even conservative Democrats are not going to go out on a limb to cut the sacrosanct programs of the largest segment of the angry electorate who just voted over 60 House dems out of office.