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I must say I am disappointed at the announcement this morning that Speaker John Boehner is backing off the big deal he and President Obama have been seeking. This likely would have been viewed as a win-win by the mainstream press and more importantly, the history books.

John Boehner could have been somebody. Boehner could have been a contender. A respected player. Someone strong and a member of the "loyal opposition." And he backs off a "big deal."

John Boehner would have been spoken about in the same terms as Speaker "Tip" O'Neil who negotiated a "big deal" with President Ronald Reagan many years ago. Tip and Gipp established a close personal relationship way back then and accomplished a "big deal."

So it looks at this moment in time, Speaker John Boehner has abandoned his dream to "go big."

WASHINGTON - House Speaker John A. Boehner abandoned efforts Saturday night to reach a comprehensive debt-reduction deal worth more than $4 trillion in savings, telling President Obama that a midsize package was the only politically possible alternative to avoid a first-ever default on the nation's mounting national debt.

Boehner (R., Ohio) told Obama - who is hosting a key meeting Sunday evening on the debt issue - that their efforts to "go big," as the speaker says, were stymied by the toughest issues: taxes and entitlements. Democrats continued to insist on tax revisions that would not pass muster in the conservative-dominated House of Representatives, and Republicans wanted cuts to programs such as Medicare and Social Security that Obama and Senate Democrats would oppose.

"Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt-reduction agreement without tax hikes. I believe the best approach may be to focus on producing a smaller measure, based on the cuts identified in the Biden-led negotiations, that still meets our call for spending reforms and cuts greater than the amount of any debt limit increase," Boehner said in a statement less than 24 hours before the Obama meeting was to take place.

And now.

Unfortunately for Boehner, his backing off at this stage simply means that President Barack Obama will get full credit for any deal accomplished. The perception will be there is only one "real leader" in America. And this also elevates President Obama one step up. Much like President Bill Clinton's  battle with Speaker Newt Gingrich. In Gingrich's case, it wasn't weakness as much as a clear lack of vision.

And Gingrich's further damaged himself irreparably when he successfully impeached President Clinton in the House, but didn't have enough to convict him in the United States Senate. Compounded by Gingrich's defeat in the 1998 elections when the Republicans lost "big." And then Gingrich's resignation as Speaker and his resignation from the House. And it is not surprising when we see what an ineffective candidate Newt Gingrich is in his quest for the Republican nomination. Boehner may be smarter than Gingrich in that sense. It pains me to watch another prominent Republican go down (wink-wink).

No, it wasn't pretty with Gingrich. And will Boehner have such a fate too. Maybe not Boehner directly, but this could have an impact on the general election in November 2012. Whether it is Romney or excuse the expression, Bachmann. They will have to explain "Why?" over and over again. On the defensive and have to explain the Republican lack of "real leadership."

John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has!" - Margaret Mead

    by Reading on Walden Bookstore on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 04:35:59 AM PDT

  •  Republicans still win (7+ / 0-)

    The Republicans win because the succeeded in tying the debt ceiling issue to budget cuts in the first place. If Obama and the congressional Dems were at all effective, that wouldn't have happened to begin with. The goal posts have been move so far to the right that we're now expected to be happy with several trillion in cuts that will impact the poor, children and elderly, without any tax increases on the wealthy.

  •  The fat lady may be warming up (3+ / 0-)

    back in the wings, but she hasn't sung yet.

    Obama needs to leverage Boehner into supporting tax increases, and he clearly has the weapons to do it.  If Boehner eventually signs onto a deal with significant revenue enhancements, everyone will forget about this little hissy fit.

    If Obama reaches a deal without significant revenue enhancements, Boehner will have won big time.  He'll have brought down a sitting president.

    Painless maneuver for him.  Tons and tons of potential upside, almost no downside.

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 04:55:27 AM PDT

    •  Which weapons? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whaddaya

      I don't see any change to the underlying pathology, which is that Obama will blink before he sparks a global economic crisis, but Boehner won't.

      "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

      by GussieFN on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 05:03:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The polls indicate (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GussieFN, maybeeso in michigan

        two-thirds of Americans support raising taxes to narrow the deficit.  The GOP position is unsustainable.

        The question, as you rightly say, is whether Obama will grab Boehner by the short hairs and force him into a deal.  And you're probably right that he won't.

        That he won't doesn't mean that he can't.

        Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
        ¡Boycott Arizona!

        by litho on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 05:11:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure how polls translate (3+ / 0-)

          into political weapons, though. I mean, I don't know how you use that poll to grab the short hairs.

          Boehner doesn't care what 2/3 of Americans say--he doesn't care what 2/3 of Republicans say, he doesn't even care what 2/3 of registered Republicans in his district say. He doesn't particularly care what 2/3 of Republican voters in his district say in current polls--he cares what they'll say on election day. By that time, they'll have different priorities--if this is even a priority now. ('Given a choice between raising taxes to narrow the deficit and ending the pandemic of homosexual sharia reverse-racism abortion-atheist clinics ...')

          I'm hoping that Boehner's paymasters bring him to heel. Failing that, I hope Obama lashes into him as representing a Republican Party that is willing to destroy the economy for political power. (Well, I hope Biden does; even my fantasies aren't so fantastical as that!)

          "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

          by GussieFN on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 05:24:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Agree with you davidkc (4+ / 0-)

    Republicans doing what they do best, moving the Overton window. Soon enough, we'll see all those cuts to discretionary spending that helps kids go to college, cuts to programs that protect the environment and food supplies. The list goes on.

  •  It is a mistake to think that when (5+ / 0-)

    Republicans use the word "control," they mean reduction or elimination.  Republicans, and conservatives in particular, are very literal people.  When they say they want to control something, they mean they want to be in charge.  In this case, they want to be in charge of how money is spent and to whom it gets.  
    That's difficult when there's a Democratic President because the President retains the option not to spend.  The President, as we should have learned from Bush/Cheney, can only spend what's been appropriated, but he can not spend to his heart's content.  Which is why so many of our agencies haven't been doing the work they were assigned by Democratic legislative majorities. Before there was a Party of No, there was an Administration of Nothing.  The economy collapsed because the Administration of Bush/Cheney did nothing to enforce the laws and stop the criminals.  One wouldn't expect that from the "law and order" party, so we didn't notice.  But, at least in retrospect, we should be fully aware that conservatives simply rely on the law to order other people around, even as criminal behavior (the deprivation of rights) is made legal.  That's because conservatives are into exploitation -- the exploitation of natural resources and the exploitation of people, whom they perceive as just another natural resource.  And resources aren't to be preserved; they're to be used and abused. "Fungible" is just a fancier term for disposable troops and people in general.

    Anyway, at the moment, the people are to be punished for having the audacity to think that they govern and public officials are to perform service.  We the people have to be brought back in line and, as usual, the private corporations are expected to do it by curtailing the people's access to money, the token that's currently needed to acquire the necessities of life.  The people are not being punished for not having worked hard enough; they're being punished because their spirits still have not been broken and the Capitol Hill Gang is beside itself, since nothing seems to be working to bring the great unwashed to heel.

    http://www.youtube.com/cyprespond

    by hannah on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 05:06:55 AM PDT

  •  The crazies at Free Republic aren't happy (8+ / 0-)

    So I guess I can console myself with that. I never go over there, but I just checked out the comments over Boehner's statement. The comments are scary, sad and funny:

    First, there are a lot of comments about Boehner caving:

    "Boner will sell us out."
    "If The GOP caves, it signals that Obama has won the 2012 election. This is for all of the marbles and for keeps."
    "Captain Stupid is at it again. Never send a crybaby to negotiate with a Marxist."

    Speaking of stupid, there are idiotic comments like this one:

    "I’m unclear on the upshot here. It sounds like Boehner is agreeing to raise the debt ceiling. If he’s negotiated spending cuts, why does he have to raise the ceiling?"

    The GOPers have managed to confuse their own idiotic lot by tying the debt ceiling issue to budget cuts (with Obama's help).

    And of course there are the appallingly racist comments.  One freeper posts a photo of African American actor Cleavon Little in a scene from the Blazing Saddles movie with a gun pointed at his head, with the comment "Go ahead, default." Sickening.

  •  A very superficial reading (0+ / 0-)

    of events.

  •  We should be thanking him (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davidkc, musicalhair

    He saved Obama from himself.

  •  Don't cry for John Boehner (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musicalhair, nchristine, a2nite, whaddaya

    If he gets 2 trillion in cuts with little or no revenue increases. All he has to do is lather rinse repeat and get 2 more trillion with no taxes, instead of 4 trillion in cuts with taxes, all at once.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:03:27 AM PDT

    •  More complicated than that (0+ / 0-)

      Obama gets what he wants and then the Bush tax cuts expire. And Obama can say "I even offered to cut Social Security and Boehner would do it." I don't believe Obama had any intention of cutting Social Security. Obama knows that Boehner couldn't get a change in the Bush tax cut through anyway. Great poker on Obama's part.

      "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has!" - Margaret Mead

      by Reading on Walden Bookstore on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:16:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  what does Obama want? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        whaddaya, eXtina

        Does he care about SS?  How'd it end up on the table?

        Does he care about Medicare?  How'd it end up the table?

        Does he care about ending the Bush tax cuts?  He extended them, to stop the republicans from doing something that they have never done and has always been considered political suicide.

        Does he care about the economy?  Then he should have passed a bigger stimulus that actually focused on jobs and didn't focus on wiping banker's asses.  All he wanted was to pass a stimulus and he didn't care what kind.  If he cares about the economy he'd be fighting for a specific job-generating stimulus now.  He'd fight to fix our crumbling infrastructure-- which gets more and more expensive to fix the longer it waits.  But instead he's playing the republicans' game instead of calling them out on it.  He'd come out and support unions-- but then even though he promised to pass card check as a candidate he showed he never cared about that either.

        So, here is the beginning and end of how "complicated" it is: Obama and the republicans work for the same people-- the ruling class who long ago decided our country can crumble and collapse.

        "Pelosi was the only damn one of the entire lot who showed any ounce of leadership the last two years"-- The Dead Man

        by musicalhair on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:51:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I can just see the political add. :) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina

        "I even offered to cut Social Security and the Republicans wouldn´t do it. So re-elect me in 2012."

  •  He's evil; they win; they wreck stuff so badly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whaddaya

    it can't be fixed; the call everyone a failure; the blame everyone else; the get teh stoopid to vote for them; lather, rinse repeat.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 08:19:18 AM PDT

  •  Boehner did pry one concession (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whaddaya

    out of the President today.  The ongoing debt roundtable tonight will be 6:00 pm so the Speaker can get in a couple rounds of golf.  Weak?...I think not.

    apparently due to ancient hardware and the transition to dk4 I can't recc tip jars or comments any longer so in lieu of the 'standard nod' you'll see a variety of replies until this gets fixed or becomes a mighty big fucking pain in the ass

    by oopsaDaisy on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 09:12:37 AM PDT

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