So there's nothing better than headlines like this one, in the Washington Post, to deliver the lesson to the White House to, well, just quit being the Capitulator In Chief:
A rough 24 hours for the White HouseYou see, Obama had drawn a line in the sand, and then—to no one's surprise—ended up capitulating on everything he said he'd never capitulate on.
A few weeks ago, the Obama administration was firm that they wouldn’t budge on tax rates for income above $250,000 and that they wouldn’t budge on the debt ceiling. They’ve since budged on both.And while Republicans are stupid, even they aren't that stupid.
Republicans increasingly think the White House will concede more now, and that if they don’t concede more now they’ll definitely give Republicans a better deal if threatened with debt default.Capitulation is never a strength. A deal will obviously require concessions by the president, but you make those to FINISH the deal, not in the middle of negotiations, and not until after you've branded the opposition with the concessions they're demanding. If a final deal required concessions on chained CPI, then make sure it's the Republicans making those demands, and then make sure everyone knows it's the Republicans making those demands. Don't be the one making that offer, for chrissakes!
[White House allies] are disappointed to see an old dynamic reasserting itself: The president makes concessions, thinking he’s close to a deal, and then the Republicans pocket those concessions, offering nothing but renewed threats to blow up the talks in return.Yup, this is insanity. Not only is it brain dead stupid with regards to Republicans, but also betrays his own vice president and congressional caucus—which had promised several times that Social Security (among other things) was off the table.
Worse, the pushback from congressional Democrats over chained CPI is stronger than the administration expected — note the outspoken opposition from Sen. Dick Durbin, an Obama ally who’s often considered a barometer for pragmatic liberals.At least some Democrats have learned the lessons of the 2012 elections—that Republicans cannot win as long as Democrats turn out at the polls. And there's no better way to go back to the glory days of 2010, than to reprise the same pattern of appeasement and capitulation that led to unwarranted, unnecessary, and unpopular Republican legislative victories.
Obama wasn't elected to play nice with Republicans. He was elected to lead our nation and improve the lives of its citizens. The political reality is that he needs Republicans to pass legislation. But that doesn't mean he cedes the bully pulpit, solidly backed by the American people, in order to hand Republicans victories they didn't earn—either in the court of public opinion or at the ballot box.