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Ezra reports that Obama made a deal with republicans that he wouldn't attack them over the debt ceiling if they worked behind the scenes in good faith.  Obama's presser came about when republicans pulled out and the talks fell through.  Obama's words were fighting words, however

But he didn’t want this fight. He wanted a deal. And he wasn’t able to get one that the White House considered even minimally acceptable. After putting more than $2 trillion of spending cuts on the table, they weren’t even able to get $400 billion — about a sixth of the total — in tax increases.

It's not the first time he's done this.  Considering how the last time went it's no wonder he was desperate to keep it secret at any cost.

I've heard Obama say good policy makes good politics but that's not true.  Good policy requires good politics.  Any the reason Obama couldn't get even modest tax increases is because he didn't think to bring politics into the mix until after the fact, and begrudgingly at that.  Good leaders fight to avoid compromise.  Obama compromises to avoid fighting.  Democrats did not send him there to avoid fights, they sent him there to win them.  They can take losing a fight but not refusing one.  Imagine what he could have gotten if he brought politics in early.

To those who say doing so would be pointless I've got two words for you:  Paul Ryan.  Turns out those angry republican townhalls did know they were being screwed once someone bothered to explain it to them.  But presidents compromise.  Leaders fight.  Obama likes being President but has no interest in his role as head of the Democratic party.  He wants his legacy to be the President who made the tough choices and giving your base what they want isn't exactly a tough choice.  In Obama's world the more the left wants something the less likely will get it.  Pissing off your base seems to be a prerequisite these days.  Are there any policies on the left he thinks worth enacting?  Because every time you enact policies your base hates you are essentially saying the left has nothing to offer, brings nothing to the table.  

Obama's very defensive and gets very testy when you question him on it.  One would think an ideal compromise would leave your own party happy for once and the republicans upset, or least give him pause as to why it's always the other way around.  But I'm not holding my breath.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  ... (5+ / 0-)
    ... presidents compromise.  Leaders fight.  Obama likes being President but has no interest in his role as head of the Democratic party.

    In other words, he has his priorities in order.

    Is this really what we're complaining about????

  •  he's probably not the guy you want buying (4+ / 0-)

    your next car.

    Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

    by rasbobbo on Wed Jun 29, 2011 at 09:53:27 PM PDT

    •  Or selling the cars (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DarkestHour, rasbobbo

      I can't recall a Democrat being more inept in negotiating with Republicans.  

      Obama has already failed in these negotiations

      Based on the terms he wanted to negotiate.  One dollar in revenue increases for every five dollars in cuts?  Hell every Democrat should reject that.   And the Republicans won't accept that?

      Total fucking failure!  

      Offering changing the way Social Security and Medicare are calculated so there are actual reductions in the payouts of those programs and you don't get jack shit in return?

      Total fucking failure!  

      Best speaker in my lifetime.  Steel balls when in comes killing bin Laden.  But negotiating with Republicans?

      A total fucking failure!  

      The darkness drops again but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? William Butler Yeats

      by deepsouthdoug on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 05:49:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Question. Where in the article does it say that (7+ / 0-)

    Obama "cut a deal" with the Republicans if they would negotiate in good faith? What I found says that this was the strategy, but I don't see that it was an under-the-table deal with the Republicans.

    As long as the Obama administration was refusing to attack Republicans publicly, my source said, they believed they could cut a deal.

    Is there a different link?

  •  The Left and the progressive movement are in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashoil, Pluto, MKSinSA

    disarray.  They (we) are ineffectual and are not taken seriously by any of the power brokers in politics.

    The main reason for this is because so far it has not been able to unite around a very well define set of issues and yes, values, so it's potential power is diluted.

    There is no sign of organizational discipline, focus, strong messaging.

    It lacks passion, conviction, and yes, zealotry.

    So it's not surprise the President does not takes it seriously, and nobody else for that matter, except of course, its members who spend lots of times making fun about how stupid and mean and ridiculous the Right is, and less time developing its own agenda.

    Again, the agenda needs to be extremely focus and disciplined, with staying power.

    It's not here yet.

  •  This is just INSANE! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC, Nowhere Man, elmo, agent

    You say:

    Good leaders fight to avoid compromise.  

    Like hell they do!  GOOD leaders recognize that compromise is a necessity if you're going to accomplish anything short of pulling out the guns and shooting each other (and hoping that you kill more of their side than they do of yours)!

    By your definition, the Founding Fathers were apparently, virtually to a man, absolutely terrible leaders -- because our Constitution is absolutely chock full of compromises.  Our entire political system is a compromise.  In the case of the original Constitution, between big states and small ones (a bicameral legislature with states getting equal representation in one chamber and representation in the other on the basis of population), between slave states and free states (hence the 3/5 compromise), and on a host of other issues.

    In fact, democracy itself is a compromise -- and a radical one, at that!  Before the advent of deciding government policy at the ballot bos, it was decided at the barrel of a gun or the point of a sword -- if you had the physical means to force others to bend to your will, you forced them to do it;  if you didn't, then you bent to somebody else's will.

    I did LOTS of negotiating over the course of a nearly 30 year legal career, and as long as you think there's a possibility (at least short of going all the way down to the wire) you minimize the public posturing, because public posturing just makes it more difficult for the other side to compromise.  But once the other side has made it clear that they INSIST on public posturing, they're telling you that they really don't want a deal -- at least not one made before the absolute last minute.  And then, you've got no choice but to respond in kind.

    What today's press conference told me is that Boehner is continuing to insist on the Cantor "absolutely not a penny in additional revenues" party line -- and that the President has said, in essence, "if you want to blow the economy up over that, then the economy is going to get blown up."  Unlike Ezra Klein, I don't think that NECESSARILY means there's not going to be a deal, since the Republicans could still be bluffing.  But at this point, it was necessary to convey the message that if they're bluffing, their bluff is going to get called.

    Thus far, the President has conducted these negotiations pretty much as I would have, except that I might have called the press conference last week, on the day after Cantor walked out of the talks..  But that's a pretty minor question of whether he wanted to escalate before or after he talked with Boehner.

    But to say that "good leaders fight to avoid compromise?"  I'm sorry, that's just NUTS!

    PROUD to be a Democrat!

    by leevank on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 12:51:28 AM PDT

    •  The Republicans were finished in 2008 (4+ / 0-)

      With the economy in shambles, and the outgoing administration facing the prospect of criminal indictments, we had the chance to mortally wound them. But no! Our new President said, we must look forward.  Instead, he gave a hand up to these crazy lunatics to fight another day.  a page right out of the Matrix...

      --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

      by chipoliwog on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 03:06:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  we should go back to having duels (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that would make many people here (and elsewhere) very very happy :p

    •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leevank, agent

      for your perspective as someone who has actual experience in negotiation.

      I'd really be interested to hear about the diarist's experience with negotiation, if any.

    •  perhaps i should have said (0+ / 0-)

      good leaders fight so that when the time for compromise comes they will be in a strong position to negotiate.  they try to sway public opinion and build support before compromising, not after.  

      I get your point about minimal public postering.  But that only works if it produces good policy.  Instead Obama continuously produces compromise that pisses his party off.  And he doesn't seem to care.  Not one more benefit of the doubt for him.

  •  The first part of commenting on a diary about (0+ / 0-)

    the President's negotiation skills is the assumption that he has them ... I make no such broad assertion

    On the other hand, we have to assume these compromises are achieving the results he wants - because he is not a dummy nor a weakling.  He wants to cut spending too - he believes in the confidence fairy too - he talked about Social Security "reform" ever since he was a candidate.  

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