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The excellent History Channel production on the age of the business tycoon included this observation, which held true in the 19th century and continues to hold true today:      

"To be a successful negotiator, you've got to be willing to walk away from the deal."

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell blocked many Obama Administration proposals by repeatedly making it clear that they would walk away from any deal short of capitulation, from 2008-2012.

In today's meeting with the President, neither Boehner nor McConnell showed any strong inclination to deal, although they nodded their heads a few times and mumbled a word or two about demanding new spending cuts before they would give in on any kind of revenue increases.

Neither Boehner nor McConnell has ever warmed up in the televised photo opportunities in the White House, which they have used as proof that they are standing up to the President, nodding in a mocking way and rolling their eyes whenever the President says that there will have to be painful compromise, and that all must work together.

Both Boehner and McConnell are playing a different game than the one that the President thinks he is playing with them.   What they are playing is POKER.  The President is playing something else, like let's have a group sing-along, let's play beautiful music together, or even let's dance.

How do we know that they are playing poker, rather than "let's dance"?   It is fairly clear.  Both Boehner and McConnell made it clear that they were laying their "CARDS ON THE TABLE," or that they are putting "revenue" or taxes "on the table."   Boehner also got in a physical jab into the President's rib when Obama joked about it being Boehner's birthday but not having a cake due to not knowing how many candles to put on it.

In other words, Boehner's body language - the little mock-jab to President's rib - shows further that what Boehner has in mind is that he and the President are actually engaged in a boxing match.  It makes a certain amount of sense, because Boehner has had a lot of experience physically pushing people around when he was a bouncer at the family bar near Cincinnati.

Poker and boxing - these are typical metaphors for the ways that two opposing parties interact - they exchange blows, and they play their cards as shrewdly and craftily as they can to beat their opponent.

Now, President Obama has been trying for 4 years to try to persuade Boehner and McConnell to dance, to make music together, and to prove his good will, he has repeatedly extended olive branches to them, offering to compromise.  They have balked every time, after mumbling a few words and nodding their heads a few times.  Why?

Because Boehner and McConnell only know one way to handle power - by fighting as craftily and shrewdly and aggressively as they can, and to fight dirty when they think they have to.

Boehner and McConnell are not going to play any game except poker and boxing with the President.



When Harry Reid and Joe Biden enter the picture, the situation is entirely different, especially where the Senate's consent is required.   Reid and Biden are poker players and boxers, just like Boehner and McConnell are.  

Boehner and McConnell would prefer to meet with the President in the White House, because they have mastered the art of acting jovial and friendly, and then proving that the President failed to convince (i.e. force) them to do anything other than what they think Republicans want them to do.

So the little photo op meetings with the President actually make President Obama look like a less effective leader, and they empower Boehner and McConnell, by making it clear that President Obama will consider anything that comes from their meetings to be a failure unless they can all agree on making changes that his opposing players do not want to make.   (Can we try changing the key of the song from D to E major, the second time that we sing the chorus together? (he asks)  They reply:  "No way, Jose." or they say that they will change key halfway through, but they never do it, and the song collapses into disharmony, ending abruptly.).

This requires a change of strategy on the President's part:


new strategy (1) - accept the fact that the game being played is poker, not "sing-along."

new strategy (2) - accept the fact that the President is not a poker player.

new strategy (3) - allow Reid and Biden to handle the poker match (with input from Pelosi and Schumer), freeing up the President to handle everything else that he needs to focus on.

new strategy (4) - the President can steer clear of the useless meetings with Boehner and McConnell, which don't accomplish anything and just make them look stronger, and what the President does instead is takes over the job of "The Secretary of Explaining Stuff" to the American people (i.e., does a series of fireside chats with the nation about what is happening, how Americans can help, explaining the narrative to them so that they can see for example, that we have three aces, and the other side is playing a weak hand and trying to bluff us into capitulating.  And we aren't going to fall for that nonsense anymore).


Why does President Obama keep on letting himself get sucked into this silly and pointless photo opportunities for Boehner and McConnell to make a mockery out of?


The answer is that he really, genuinely thinks that compromise is necessary.  He has been an acolyte of the Tom Daschle school of negotiating, which is that if one runs a "good government" philosophy, then everyone will see how good the intentions are, and everyone will cooperate, and they will get along, and there will be a happy ending.

Similarly, he observed how Bill Clinton was very eager to please everyone in economic negotiations, and wanted to make it seem like everyone had a good outcome and was happy.   The only problem with using that approach is that (A) Obama does not have the same ability to snooker the Republican leaders or make fools out of them when needed, and (B) Even if he had the same skill set as Clinton had, including the ability to "explain stuff" to the nation in a compelling way, thus gaining the upper hand, even so, he might end up being the victim of the triangulation game as Clinton sometimes did.


Here is the most treacherous issue of all for the President, in all of this:   Boehner and McConnell know that Obama will lose the negotiations if they refuse to compromise with him.   In other words, if they do anything but what he wants them to, then Obama is, de facto, the loser (in his terms, as the President has defined the situation).

So, they can in essence beat him about the head, and run circles around him and his Administration, refusing in every possible way, teasing, acting like horses or elephants, for the next four years, and in their eyes, they automatically win.   This time, they won't say that they will block Obama, but in reality, they will play their cards to win and to defeat him at political poker.


The President set this scenario up today, by meeting with Boehner and McConnell, with body language and words from them showing that they weren't really interested in doing the kind of compromise or sing-along that Obama was asking them for.  They walked away happy enough, because they had their photo op, and pretended to negotiate - they played their little bluff hand of poker today, and they think they won it, and they probably did, in their way of thinking.


The President can change this dynamic very quickly.  He can take notice of the pointlessness of these photo ops with Boehner jabbing him and rolling his eyes in a mocking way, and McConnell insisting again that spending cuts are required for any talk of revenue (he can play back the tape and see that it doesn't play out well visually for the Dem side).

No more of these photo op sessions - this isn't getting anything accomplished, except questionable PR and pseudo-negotiation.

Now, let Boehner and McConnell go back to Capital Hill and let them play the only game they know how to play - political poker, or some political boxing. . . but not with the President who has other important things to do.   Let them play poker or boxing with Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden.   See how it goes then.

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Comment Preferences

  •  President is tough with Al Quaeda, but Boehner? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepeco, LSmith, DarkestHour

    I don't see the toughness there, because President Obama has already said he will feel that he has failed if he can't get them to go along with him and sing sweetly together.

    They do not know how to sing sweetly, either separately or together.  They are tough, brass knuckles, s.o.b.'s - Boehner was a bleeping bar bouncer.  He isn't a singer or a dancer.

    You can't play softball and hardball at the same time - it's one or another.  Boehner does not know how to play anything but hardball.   The President is not a political hardball thrower except in political campaign season, which is over.
    Obama plays political softball when it comes to dealing with Boehner - wrong game - and political softball has never worked with Congress.

    •  Obama needs to develop his B.A.T.N.A. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, AaronInSanDiego, cynndara

      Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement -- i.e., his Plan B.

      The stronger his Plan B, the better he can negotiate.

      He tends to obsess only with Plan A.

      He needs to shift the dialogue.

      E.g., why buy into the GOP's framing of 'fiscal cliff' -- that would fail a Democratic Luntzian focus-group in a heart-beat. Instead, how about "Return to Normalcy" -- because that's what the Plan B is, if Republicans won't agree to extending middle-class tax-cuts.

  •  Remember Obama created Simpson-Bowles (5+ / 0-)

    Remember that the big banks and Wall St. own the place.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:24:34 AM PST

  •  People who've never negotiated (6+ / 0-)

    a deal in their lives suddenly have all the answers. Elections are over let the hand-wringing take center stage.

    Everyone Chill the fuck out! I got this - unknown but credited to Barack Obama

    by natedogg265 on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:29:43 AM PST

    •  Here YOU go again. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You don't like the fact that people are trying to "make him"?  too bad.  It is what he said to do.   Not much difference between the Tea Party and people who think Obama is god.   He isn't your boyfriend.  

      If money is speech, then speech must be money.

      by dkmich on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:42:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  really? (0+ / 0-)

        you think O is listening to you?


        mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

        by wewantthetruth on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:06:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We have a role in shaping public opinion (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quill, LSmith

          In fact, that is what Daily Kos is all about.

          So why shouldn't we talk about this and do what we can to build a movement for the best possible result?

          What kind of answer is it that BO doesn't personally read DKos?  And don't you think that somebody on his team keeps an eye on the site to see what progressive opinion is on this?  If I were in charge, I would hire someone whose only job is to review DKos and other blogs and summarize them for the administration.  If the administration doesn't have someone doing that, it only makes me more concerned that he will blow the negotiations like he blew so many others in his first term.

          The Repubs have an entire industry set up to do this, and they listen closely.  Do you think that Repub leaders are briefed every day on what Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly says?  Of course they are.

          Why shouldn't Dem leaders be briefed every day on what DKos says?

          •  yeah, republicans have an entire industry (0+ / 0-)

            how has that worked out for them? lost the last two presidential elections, lost more senate seats and lost House seats.

            thanks for letting me know what this site was about as I did not know.

            I am a big supporter of this site and like the back and forth and discussions however there are lots of spokes to building a grassroots effort and I'd say OFA showed that.

            we all want to be heard, Dave, but thinking your obsession about O's negotiation skills based on your "expertise" in this area is a little much. fact is, you have no idea what it is like to be in O's shoes and what he faces when negotiating and what he has accomplished is actually quite good.

            like I stated  previously, in the real world, no one gets 100% of what they want when negotiating and I choose to live in the real world.

            mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

            by wewantthetruth on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:19:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You said we should keep our mouths shut because (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mike101, dkmich

              he's the President and we're not.

              I disagree with that approach.

              I also know the Dems have made a lot of mistakes in both negotiating and messaging over the last decades, and I'm not the only one.

              I know no one gets 100% of what they want.  But you should get the most that you can out of the cards you're dealt.  Dems rarely do.

    •  Yeah, well, while everyone here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      likes Obama, there is also this perception that he is some sort of moron who needs to be told what to do on a daily basis. Here it is that he doesn't know shit about how to negotiate a budget deal, not even how to approach such a thing. So the bloggers have to help him along, micromanage him because he's too much a fool/lightweight to actually BE president.

      The reality is that he's a very smart guy, is surrounded by top people (including experts in negotiation), and doesn't read this or any other blog. So all this advice to him is really a form of mental masturbation.

      •  He's very smart, but he's a lousy negotiator (6+ / 0-)

        Just look at the record.  Look at 2010.  Look at the last 17 years of Republican politics.  He clearly wasn't a "moron" - in fact, I thought in 2008 that he might be the smartest President we've ever had.

        But he really blew it big time on his bipartisanship negotiating attempts.  And his "top people" who are supposedly "experts in negotiation" didn't do such a great job either, did they?

        And he wasn't very well preparted for the first debate, when we all knew the election was in the bag unless he totally blew it, was he?

        God know I love him, but the truth is that he made a lot of mistakes in his first term and a lot of us, including the unions and progressive leaders, are watching very closely to make sure he doesn't repeat them in the current fiscal negotiations.

        So if you have to, BO, just walk away for now, like the diarist says.

        •  yeah, you're right.. (0+ / 0-)

          ....he "blew" it.

          plenty of things O accomplished in his 1st term even if everyone did not get everything he/she/they wanted.

          got re-elected.

          O is going to do what is best for the country and there will be those that piss and moan about what he winds up doing.

          fact is, he will do what he does. the alternative was mittens and the right wing nut jobs.

          I'm with O on this one.

          mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

          by wewantthetruth on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:10:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We will have a tea party House for 10 years (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            the fan man, quill, mike101, cynndara, dkmich

            Think of how much more he could have done if he had negotiated or messaged better.

            His policies are fine, but he couldn't pass much of anything without 61 Dem Senators and a strongly Dem House.  When he didn't have to deal with blackmailing Repubs.

            I'll take BO over any Repub, of course.  But that doesn't he's perfect or an even above-average negotiator for a President.  

            What we're trying to do is strengthen his hand by pushing him to the left.  He would have been well-advised to have listened more in his first term.  Many people think that Occupy Wall Street was the best thing that happened to him.

            •  "Occupy Wall Street was the best thing that (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wewantthetruth, MBramble, cynndara, dkmich

              happened to him." Yup. Now he has to use it, without using it of course.

              Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

              by the fan man on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:56:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  he's not perfect... (0+ / 0-)

              ...he's a human being.

              tea party may still be around in 10 years however that is 5 election cycles and dems only need 17 seats to gain majority status. no way they are in power in 10 years.

              even things that were originally supported by republicans they stood against when O took them up and when the republican senate minority leader says their #1 priority is making O a one-term president, that has zip to do with whether or not O is a good negotiator. it had nothing to do with messaging or his negotiating skills.......and most people that know anything would agree.

              I'm thinking O's got this one on his own and he actually has a pretty strong hand already.

              mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

              by wewantthetruth on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:10:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Well, I HAVE negotiated a lot of deals (9+ / 0-)

      and I have been stunned at how bad Obama was at it during his first term.  In fact, how bad Dems are in general in doing it.  They are never willing to walk away from it.  And it's not like the Repubs haven't had a history of not negotiating in good faith since 1994 - it is an open playbook for them.  Every Kossack knows what they are doing; why didn't the President?  Anyway, let's hope he learned by his catastrophic mistakes, which led to the 2010 elections.

      If there were ever a time to walk away, it is now.  The Bush tax cuts will expire without any action by the Dems.  

      Let it.  We'll get a better deal if we start out with them gone.  Otherwise, we'll have to give something up in order to get them gone, or agree not to let them totally expire for the rich.

    •  I've negotiated a few deals and I think (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, DarkestHour, dkmich

      the diarist is right, that you need to be able to walk away from a deal in order to negotiate strongly. And as Sharon Wraight said, you need a plan B for when the deal falls through.

      If it falls through both parties might suffer (not to mention the nation as a whole) but the question then becomes, which party loses more? I don't have the answer to that, but it seems to me that Obama is in a strong position now, and might be able to formulate a fairly credible plan B.

      "The pessimists may be right in the end but an optimist has a better time getting there" -- Samuel Clemons

      by native on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 09:05:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm guessing you didn't have a nation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and re-election as part of your circumstance. You underestimate him at your own peril.

        Everyone Chill the fuck out! I got this - unknown but credited to Barack Obama

        by natedogg265 on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 06:02:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No actually, I don't underestimate Obama. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm extremely impressed with Obama's skill at maneuvering in the halls of power. His influence is however limited.

          America is still to a large degree Cheney-ville, not Obama-ville.

          "The pessimists may be right in the end but an optimist has a better time getting there" -- Samuel Clemons

          by native on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:24:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  On the other hand... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepeco, native

    What may be happening is a good cop/bad cop kind of strategy. Obama is continually in the "good cop" role, saying "we can compromise, we can make this work, but you have to give me something" while Reid is playing the "We have no problems walking away, we won this election, and this will not go well for you."

    Obama, as I see it, is playing this as if it is going to fail, and at that point he will be able to come back and say, "look how much I tried to compromise! They are again the party of No!"

  •  Democratic Party voters: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepeco, DarkestHour

    To be a successful negotiator, you've got to be willing to walk away from the deal.

    “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

    by Sagebrush Bob on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:14:42 AM PST

    •  Only if you look at the election as the final (0+ / 0-)

      act of the deal. But it's really is one stage in the making of the actual deal. The actual deal is Governing. We're into the next stages now. Where we express to them what it is we need out of our representative-leaders.

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:59:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  game theory: play tit-for-tat. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, deepeco, quill, mike101

    When the other side plays "defect", give them one more chance to play "cooperate," and then play "tit-for-tat" mercilessly.  This will force them to start playing "cooperate."

    One thing Obama should also do for rhetorical impact, is get McConnell on TV, quote back to him his line about "his most important priority is to make Obama a one-term president," and then ask him point-blank what's going to change how that he's lost.

    Play hardball.

    And WE should be deluging the White House with "Dear Mr. President" email, urging him to play hardball and fully supporting him every time he does.  

    We got the future back.

    by G2geek on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:15:35 AM PST

    •  I think Prez should defect now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Everyone knows that the repubs are 100% defectors, so the best things to do (as OP sort of suggests) is to skip the pre-compromising "cooperate" offer and go straight to no-compromise hard ball, or defect move.

      For those not familiar with game theory, tit-for-tat is a simple strategy for how to deal with a bad actor (defector), who always wins when negotiating with individuals who always try to compromise (cooperators). In this example, obviously the president is the rigid cooperator, and the Republicans are the rigid defectors.

      The tit-for-tat strategy goes like this: when a t4t person first deals with someone else, they cooperate (compromise). If the other party also compromises, then thereafter the t4t person also compromises and everyone wins! However, if the other party defects (is dishonest and doesn't compromise), then the t4t person takes that first loss and switches to defect (no compromise) against that player next time they negotiate. That way, the t4t person gets the benefits of working with cooperators, and is protected against defectors (except for that first burn).

      Game Theory sounds a little hokey, but it was first conceived in the context of economic (business) interactions, and has been applied to many other areas, including evolutionary biology and animal behavior, and it actually has great power in predicting why animals, people, and societies do what they do when there are social interactions that involve costs and benefits.

      Long story short: Tit-for-tat is the winning strategy when negotiating with people who may be assholes, whereas "always assuming then best" (rigid cooperating) is a real loser.

      "I don't cry over milk spilled under bridges. I go make lemonade" - Bucky Katt

      by quill on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 09:54:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You do realize Obama is a poker player (6+ / 0-)

    a well-known poker player in Illinois Legislative history?  He taught himself to play as a young state legislator because he understood that's where things were done outside of the floor, and he became known as an excellent and very wily and winning player, known for his ability to spot tells, and bluff.  He apparently made a tidy bit of money playing poker with Republicans.

    You might stop watching the History Channel alone, and actually read some history of the making of this President.  He did win the Presidency twice, once as the first African American from Hawai'i with an American mother and a Kenyan father AND a second term as only the second President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to do so during an economic depression and with more than 50% of the popular I wouldn't count him out as "dumb" and "ineffectual" just yet.  

    And as someone who has actually negotiated for a living, there is a difference between walking away from a private business deal than walking out of public negotiations that impact the future of this nation.  The art of the deal is never in public posturing (in the pictures you and I see) but in the face to face grueling and private meetings that grind out binding agreements.

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:28:50 AM PST

  •  ps. I love Joe Biden but he has too many tells (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man, native, AaronInSanDiego

    He would be great to take money off of, because he is a truly genuine and entertaining and lively man.  I love him because he's been out front in supporting marriage equity.  But really?  Joe Biden as your example of a poker player to emulate?  His eyes betray him all the time.  He pulls and flattens his lips.  He can't contain himself, which is his charm.  He is expressive and joyous.  I love the guy.  

    Harry Reid, on the other hand, tougher to read.  Like Obama, he is contained.  Much much harder to read.  Both Reid and Obama are counter-punchers.  They don't like to take the first swing.  Biden, on the other hand, is a street scuffler.  He tells the story of his mother telling him to get back out on the street and beat up the kid who beat him up.  

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:38:07 AM PST

  •  I agree with your statement (4+ / 0-)

    that you have to be willing to walk away.  However, I disagree with your assessment that Obama isn't and your characterization of the negotiations.  

    There is a lot of theater involved here, and if a deal is in the works, all of the parties involved are likely to behave differently before the cameras than they do in private.  If Obama is getting what he wants, look for it to appear as if he is capitulating to give Boehner cover against his own party.  I believe there is more than meets the eye, which is why I hope that democrats don't turn on the president before they even know the final outcome.  

    The president is in a stronger position to negotiate if the republicans see us as having his back.  If we are criticizing him and infighting, they see an opening.  Let's not give it to them!  Being vocal in our support for the President is the best way to help him get the best deal here.  

    I trust President Obama on this one.

    •  Being vocal in supporting POTUS is NOT the best (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, quill, mike101

      way to get a good deal.

      We need to shift the playing field to the left just like the right wing extremists shift the playing field to the right.

      In any negotiation, you always start by asking for substantially more than you know the other side will agree to, and pressure from the left helps with that.  You don't start with a reasonable compromise position that you would be happy to end up with.

      I was pleased to see that the amount of increased tax revenue BO put forward in his first salvo was $1.6 trillion, significantly higher than what he proposed in the prior talks; that is a very good sign.  But we need to keep the pressure up and let the Repubs know that we will not let BO move too far to the right.  This is how the Repubs use the Tea Party to stick to unreasonable positions and make Dems cave.

      So I say re the President "trust but verify."

      •  I don't know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        a democratic party that appears to be united behind President Obama is a great asset.  A democratic party that is criticizing him is an opening for the GOP to exploit.  

        What was the FIRST card that Obama played at the press conference?  That's right--"more people agree with my approach than even voted for me".  He's using the power of his mandate.  When we criticize him, we weaken what he is claiming as his #1 strength in these negotiations.  This is one time I believe we should take a page from the GOP playbook and fall in line for once.  

        I think Obama IS asking for more in negotiations than he expects, so I'm not ready to start tearing him apart before there is ink on paper or if he doesn't take us off the bs "fiscal cliff".  I doubt the President is likely to take his progressive base for granted as he sometimes did in the previous term.  You can just tell the guy has more "swagger" these days.  

        •  We ARE the people who agree with his approach (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          on taxes.

          Now we want him to be able to achieve it with better negotiating tactics.  And we want to make sure that he follows through on the approach we were voting for.

          The purpose of the diary was not to "tear him apart."  It was to make sure that he lives up to his promises and gets the best deal possible.

          When I hear him say things like he is open to alternative Republican ideas on how to raise revenues it makes me nervous.

          It is crucial to them to keep a low tax rate for income over $250k.

          It is even more crucial to us that we let that tax rate go back up to what it was in the 90's, if not more.

          No trade-off here is acceptable; we need to break the back of the Republicans on the tax rate.  The imagined amount of revenue is of secondary importance.

          I hope you're right, but the more noise on the left for him not to negotiate the tax rate issue the better, in my opinion.

  •  Why he can't. (0+ / 0-)

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:32:26 AM PST

  •  Anyone remember how in 2010 the Dem leadership (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, native, quill, DarkestHour, mike101

    refused to put forward for a vote a bill that would have extended the Bush tax cuts for income under $250 but let the tax cuts for higher income levels expire?  That bill would have forced the Repubs to vote against a huge middle class tax cut in order to protect the rich, and would have been a great issue for Dems to campaign on in the 2010 elections.  

    But our genius Dem negotiators refused to bring that bill up for a vote.  They decided, in their infinite wisdom, that it would hurt them with the electorate, because the Repubs would argue that they were trying to raise taxes on the rich and that any mention of taxes was bad for Dems.  How'd that work out for us?  I was pulling my hair out for weeks at this stupidity.

    So nobody here should be saying "Don't worry, these guys are expert negotiators."  They are not.  It is their greatest weakness, and has been for decades.

    I hope that this is theater, and that Obama wants plausible deniability if the talks don't succeed, to be able to say that he tried and that it is the Republicans' fault.  That is good politics.

    But given his first term, I wish I could say that with 100% certainty.  I'm not certain that he won't cave when push comes to shove, so the more we can do to help avoid that the better.

    •  ahhhh, Dave (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      O is not listening to you, sorry.

      Like someone posted above, big difference in negotiating a transaction in your world and that when you are the leader of the free world.

      as you should know, in true negotiation there is give and take and at the end, both sides walk away with something and rarely does one side get 100% of what it wants.

      the guy has been a good president and he won re-election just over a week ago. let's think about that . O has always been in for the long game going back to when he first decided to run the 1st time. he knew he needed two terms to effect change and have a historical impact.

      everyone is entitled to his/her/their opinion and glad to have the back and forth but me? I would rather enjoy what happened a week ago, kick back and watch a Jedi at work.

      life is too short to be worrying about things that we cannot, quite frankly, control.

      I'm certain things will work out fine.

      mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

      by wewantthetruth on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:21:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was "certain" in 2008 but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quill, mike101

        that didn't work out too well.  And if he was really planning to make the big changes in his second term, he killed that plan with the way he and other Dems handled the 2010 elections.

        But by all means, kick back and enjoy last week; I certainly have.  

        And of course I know that you don't get 100% in any negotiate; I negotiate for a living, as well as mediate disputes.

        But some points have to be non-negotiable, like the tax rate for income over $250k; to get that, we can give a little on other things.  But not on that.

        And remember, this is not an ordinary negotiation.  The Bush tax cuts expire on their own.  That gives us a winning hand.

        I love your attitude that "life is too short to be worrying about things that we cannot, quite frankly, control."  But that is what we mainly do on DKos, express our opinion and try to affect public opinion.  You have expressed your opinion yourself, although your opinion seems to be that the rest of us shouldn't express our opinions about the President's negotiation tactics.

        •  you should try reading what I wrote (0+ / 0-)

          rather than put words in my mouth.

          the man has already effected significant change and will continue to do so.

          '10 results were not on him but he has to deal with what he has to deal with.

          I was certain in '08 that O would be a good president and he has been even more so with what he walked in to and other unexpected things he had to deal with.

          were there disappointments, sure, but so what. get over it, it's done.

          you're setting yourself up for disappointment when you make demands that you have no chance of making come true.

          and again, thanks for the education on what dkos is all about.......been around a bit myself, Dave. Also appreciate the reminder that this negotiation is not "ordinary".

          as to your stating that my opinion seems to be the rest of "us" shouldn't express "our" opinions,  I never said that or suggested that. you're too wrapped up in your self and your opinions to see that.

          best of luck, man. keep effecting that change!

          mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

          by wewantthetruth on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:30:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Arpil 2009 (0+ / 0-)

    Remember when the President and Congress, working on his budget, agreed to cuts in spending. The Repubs were all excited because they had won-what did they win? Well, they thought they won hundreds of billions in spending cuts, by standing firm, not negotiating and just being "all-around dicks".
    And then the ACTUAL numbers came out...
    They won $34 Billion in spending cuts...that weren't really spending cuts, as that $34 billion was actually money left over from the previous budget that had not been spent...
    I stopped doubting President Obama at that should to.
    He's got this!
    BTW, exactly which negotiations did he lose?

    If you think it's a good idea to not have to call your insurance company immediately after being pulled from a flaming wreck to make sure the ER visit is covered-you might be FOR the PPACA

    by workingclasszero on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:53:20 AM PST

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