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President Barack Obama and House Republican Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) gesture while Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) look on during a meeting of bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate.
In a statement released by the White House, Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer says President Obama would veto John Boehner's "Plan B" proposal to extend Bush tax cuts for everyone making up to $1 million:
This approach does not meet the test of balance, and the President would veto the legislation in the unlikely event of its passage.
The president's position has been that middle-class tax cuts on income up to $250,000 should be extended, although on Monday he offered a concession to Republicans, saying he would accept extending tax cuts on the first $400,000 of income. Republicans rejected that offer, however, responding with Boehner's "Plan B" to set the threshold at $1 million.

Boehner first offered the $1 million proposal on Friday, so in countering with $400,000, the White House appeared to be saying that $1 million was too high a threshold, but that it was willing to negotiate on a threshold in order to get a deal on the fiscal cliff. But with Republicans rejecting that offer (which also included Social Security cuts), and the White House now rejecting "Plan B" the publicly-stated positions are far apart.

But publicly-stated positions are just words, and according to NBC's First Read, the two sides are much closer in private discussions. As they point out, that makes their public actions—particularly Boehner's weird "Plan B" gambit—very confusing.

There are three reasons why Plan B -- if it’s a serious effort -- seems so puzzling. One, as we wrote yesterday, the two sides are thisclose in getting a deal done. (Where the two sides are publicly is not where they were Monday night; they have both moved in each other’s direction further.) Two, if we go over the fiscal cliff (and time is running out, folks), Republicans might not realize the extent to which President Obama will own the bully pulpit in January. After all, there’s a certain inaugural address on Jan. 21, as well as the State of the Union. And three, are enough House Republicans really going to cast a tough vote -- raising taxes -- without getting any spending cuts or resolution on the sequester in return? And are they going to cast a vote for legislation that breaks a longstanding pledge on taxes that has zero chance of becoming law simply to give Boehner leverage? If Boehner and leadership do pull this off and convince their rank-and-file to vote on legislation that is designed just to give Boehner leverage, it would be quite the political feat. But for what end? Boehner already had one big piece of invisible leverage over the White House: a 2013 domestic agenda. The White House knows not getting a deal now, while politically more damaging for Republicans, probably means he’ll get very little down legislatively next year -- perhaps his ONLY year in a second term to focus on passing legislation.
My gut instinct is that the simplest explanation is the best explanation, and using Occam's razor, I'd say that President Obama is extremely eager to get a deal done and to avoid the uncertainties of "falling off the cliff" and that Republicans, while worried about appearing to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage, are trying to extract as many concessions as they possibly can from the president before the "cliff deadline." If that's the case, then it was a huge mistake for the president to make the offer he did two weeks before the deadline, because as tough a pill as the offer would have been to swallow, at this point any negotiated agreement is only going to get worse.

7:54 AM PT: Boehner's office responds:

Boehner spox @Brendan_Buck calls White House veto threat "bizarre and irrational"
@ZekeJMiller via TweetDeck

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Comment Preferences

  •  Obama will *never* veto this stupid Plan B (22+ / 0-)

    ...Harry Reid has already said it can't make it through the Senate.  It's DOA there.

    And whose bright idea was it to call it "Plan B".

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:34:01 AM PST

  •  11ty dimensional chess seems like a whole lot of (9+ / 0-)

    not so very multidimensional when you get right down to it.

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:34:34 AM PST

    •  What about the effing defense cuts? Sequester hits (0+ / 0-)

      DOD hard - any deal "negotiated" by this hard-nosed leader of ours damn well better include the Pentagon a damn sight harder than it hits the elderly's earned benefits they've been paying into their whole lives.  

      This has the fucking feel of Kabuki all over again.  

    •  More like two-dimensional (0+ / 0-)

      He's playing chess with a tanned cardboard cutout.  How do you threaten these assholes with going of a cliff when their desire for destruction is pathological?  Obama will worry about the unknown, about the future, about the broader market impact, about recession and a recovery collapse, about suffering for those who would lose unemployment.  Republicans say "fuck it, let 'er rip!"  

  •  My Razor is Ever so Slightly Sharper: (10+ / 0-)

    He agrees with the Republicans on these issues far more than he lets on, especially when he's not facing a direct threat to his presidency (like Romney).

    The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

    by teacherjon on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:34:36 AM PST

    •  If he's more in agreement than he lets on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plan9pub, boilerman10, bewareofme

      With the Republicans, then it would still behoove him to maneuver the government off the "cliff."  At that point in time, he could make a series of "emergency" concessions and blame any unpleasantness (good policies for the rich) on the Republicans' supposed hostage taking during the "crisis" that would begin January 1st.  At the same time, Obama would still be much more able to dictate the exact terms of the final outcome (while acting in public as if the Republicans are extorting him).

      •  That's a reach, but... (0+ / 0-)

        yes, that is possible.  Hypothetical too.

        but going over the mole hill is necessary and proper.

        I think you will find Obama is far more worried about the loss to Head Start and Education.  He'll have a tough time getting that money back from a repub congress.

        President Obama has won, the Senate is in Democratic hands, and America now has to recover from the bitter divide that only the Republicans wanted. Hope for today, tomorrow and the future! Let's get to it!

        by boilerman10 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:16:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  WH and Dems could make this backfire on GOP (14+ / 0-)

    As it will (again) highlight that they're all about protecting the super wealthy and how out of touch they are that they think a million dollars a year is somehow in need of protection and is middle class.

    The NRA is the Gun Manufacturer Lobby. Nothing more. Their pontification about the second amendment is nothing more than their ad jingle. They're the domestic version of the Military Industrial Complex.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:35:01 AM PST

  •  Boehner cares about only one thing... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boilerman10, Dont Get MAD, dkosdan

    ...himself. He can't be seen compromising with the President, even if it means getting what he wants. Not even 98% of it.

    I think we're hitting the curb come January 1st...

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:35:43 AM PST

  •  Wow, this is huge... (9+ / 0-)

    Obama really drew a line in the sand.  What a strong leader.  Boy, I feel my interest are protected now.

    The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.---FDR

    by masslib on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:35:58 AM PST

  •  WAIT A MINUTE!! VETO PLAN A FIRST! (14+ / 0-)

    Don't you try this shell game on me Mr. President!  How can I worry about Plan B when you are going to cut my Social Security payment every month for the rest of my life in the crap Plan A that gives a rotten to the core tax cut to someone making $400K while it makes up the difference stealing money from little old ladies with inadequate pensions!

  •  Everybody, get your parachutes ready (0+ / 0-)

    1, 2, 3...

    Wait. No, I don't think we'll jump.

    “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

    by RJDixon74135 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:36:14 AM PST

  •  President Obama And John Boehner (8+ / 0-)

    Have a good idea the effect Social Security cuts will have on people's lives and they still do it.  That makes them despicable and cruel.  

    If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:36:34 AM PST

  •  I'll believe it when I see it ... the GOP (11+ / 0-)

    knows Obama will come to them.  Moreover, Obama has always favored the "entitlement" cuts that have been on the table.  (he has never actually offered defenses of them and god knows he's had chances)

  •  Any good sales on Vaseline? (7+ / 0-)

    Sounds like we'll be needing a supply.

  •  I didn't know Boehner was pregnant & Plan B was (3+ / 0-)

    something Republicans supported ;)

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:38:26 AM PST

  •  Who's more eager now to make a deal? (13+ / 0-)

    If they go off the curb, virtually all of the leverage shifts to Obama, regardless of how much he does or does not want to coddle the rich, rip them off, save Social Security, or cut Social Security benefits.  A savvy politician would make compromise offer after compromise offer crafted to have the Republicans reject them all, so that the President would have cover for going "off the curb."  At that point all leverage shifts to them in terms of setting tax rates and thresholds, and the Republicans get the blame for any economic or financial instability that results in the short term.  It's Boehner, not Obama, who should be eager for a deal, because past midnight December 31st he no longer has any control.

    •  Bingo!! nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  it's possible (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      democrattotheend, Mr MadAsHell

      consider also that the diary implicitly assumes that either negotiated deal is worse than going over the cliff -- including for people on fixed incomes.  I don't think that necessarily follows, especially since the chained-CPI has some clear carveouts for current retirees and folks on SSI, plus there's some stimulus built back in.  The default comparison is not the current budget; it's the sequestering, which isn't just about defense cuts.

      This also sets the groundwork to an eventual move to CPI-E.  The deficit is already set to come down with economic recovery, Obama's eventual win on taxes, and the end of the wars.  That makes the issue largely go away (to the extent it even is one), but in the short term, the republicans are in a good position to stall on spending, and dollar for dollar, they can block more than Obama's conceded.  Their membership is mostly left in safe districts anyway, so the notion of a political hit to the republicans is easily overstated.  

      A separate concern is to make sure that Boehner retains leverage viz. the caucus, because after Dec. 31, I'm not certain he stays speaker, and Cantor would be worse.  

      The offer could still be bad strategy, but I think it's unproductive to discuss that based on a narrow view of what the, often-competing, goals are.   Probably the biggest is to buy time to work on every other legislative priority, as a comprehensive immigration bill will last a lot longer than a two-year budget.

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:18:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why can't people see this as Obama's strategy? (0+ / 0-)

      Or are we back this quickly to anticipating Obama's next "betrayal"?

      •  Most people around here cannot grasp the concept (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mr MadAsHell

        of strategy. They are emotional and near-sighted. More right brain than left brain. They are great artists,  demonstrate extreme compassion and empathy, are moralistic, but focused more on the here and now not the long game.

        •  The long view that I possess (0+ / 0-)

          has seen Obama care about one thing above all else: his own legacy. Why else would he practice such lousy politics in order to fashion weak sauce "Grand Bargains" when no bargains would work better to achieve his stated goals? (Either that, or he is lying about those. Your pick.) In what universe are the elements of his proposal relevant to anything having to do with the ending of the Bush Tax Cuts? It is unclear by what means Boehner and the Republicans could ever finesse denying 98% of the populace lower taxes if they want to survive the 2014 elections. Except now Obama has given them an out.
          Just like he did in 2009-10, when he negotiated with them for no reason whatsoever after their cataclysm in 2008. No, we didn't have the magic 60, but so what? The politics is the same: propose bills that the Republicans vote down, then use those votes against them in the next election. That's the tried-and-true strategy US pols have used for centuries. Successfully.
          Instead, we grant the losers instant credibility, own a piece of crap legislation, and still get lambasted by them and their allies anyway. Where's the win?

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:40:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because he's governing now, not politicking. (0+ / 0-)

            Big difference. Much larger constituency.

            I don't believe his legacy is the over-arching thought here, but you do. I've read a lot of your comments and understand that you don't subscribe to his way of thinking. That's reasonable since you're all in for Bryduck and not the 299,999,999 people that he has to be concerned with in addition to Bryduck.

            •  Right. As if my experience (0+ / 0-)

              is sooooooo bizarre and unique as to invalidate it completely.
              His governance betrays his ideology; fiscally conservative a la the Liberal Republicans of the 1970s, although his compromises lean further to the right than that. Even though all polling since, well, ever, have stated that people are in favor of far more liberal stances on just about any economic issue of the day. So, his constituents certainly don't seem to contain the majority of citizens, either. In fact, my point of view is more closely aligned with the polling, so who's more out of the mainstream in actuality?

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:54:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I just disagree. His constituency is comprised (0+ / 0-)

                of the far left (you), the center-left and a considerable portion of the center-right. He didn't win solely with the left. Obama's poll numbers are great. Boehner, the Tea Party and Congress in general, not so much.

                •  My point is, I am not the far left. (0+ / 0-)

                  I am in the majority. Unless you are arguing against majority rule . . .

                  "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                  by bryduck on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:19:48 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  My point is that the Pres IS governing for (0+ / 0-)

                    the majority, not politicking for the party. What happens now affects all Americans not just those who voted for him, the left or Democrats overall.

                    •  In that case, and by your own lights, he is (0+ / 0-)

                      screwing up, since he is not doing what the majority wants him to do. And in this case, the majority should rule, since they are the ones directly affected by the actions. It's not a case of the majority not knowing what's best for them, which might happen in some obtuse economic debate or diplomatic exchange, but instead something they do very much understand--social security receipts and taxes. Not only that, he is flying in the face of public approval, since they already correctly believe that Republicans are the cause of the economic woes we all face.

                      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                      by bryduck on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:45:55 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

  •  We are being played (7+ / 0-)

    Don't get distracted by Plan B.  The plan offered to cut middle class Social Security benefits now and forever is a totally unacceptable bill.

    And to all the Democrats who refuse to either answer me or represent me, I will report my opinion on this bill at the polls in November 2014 and one thing I know about Minnesota, they will count my vote!

    •  As long as you can see the future (0+ / 0-)

      can I have the lottery numbers?

      If the left played it's cards right, getting enough votes to reverse the chained CPI before it became onerous would be a piece of cake.

      Of course, that would require the left to have more patience, frustration tolerance and a better grasp of strategy than my 7 year old niece, so you're right- it aint gonna happen.

      "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

      by Whimsical on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:53:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We already have experience with this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherjon, catnap1972, bryduck

        We were already screwed in the Reagan deal and the Carter deal.  Fool me once!  Shame on you.  Fool me twice.  Shame on me.

        It's absurd to think they'll repeal the very bill they themselves passed and signed.  This is deliberate policy.  This isn't drowning government in the bathtub. This is drowning the middle class in the bathtub.

        This transfers the assets of those who have nothing but meager savings and Social Security to the wealthy earning $400K.  Forget about $1M.  That's just more frosting on the caviar.  

        And do you know who it hurts the very, very most?  It hurts African Americans and Hispanics who do not have the inherited or accumulated wealth to supplement their retirement income.  It robs them of their small savings to hold harmless those making $400K and more.  

        •  Yup, no patience, frustration tolerance (0+ / 0-)

          or grasp of strategy. Check.

          "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

          by Whimsical on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:17:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Simplest makes the most sense. nt (0+ / 0-)
  •   I'm angered and disgusted (7+ / 0-)

    After all the "antics"  -- crimes, of the GOP over the last years, Americans have called them on their fake "ideals" and greed.  But the president is bargaining with exactly what he promised us he would not put on the table.  Pelosi is also a traitor.  First I think they get in that bubble and "forget" that they, in essence, don't have to bargain with the GOP.  But then I realize it is the corporate oligarchy that Obama is feeling pressure to negotiate with...the Pubs are just their front men.  Why else would Obama feel he needs to give anything?  I'm so so angry.  

    •  Is that true? (0+ / 0-)

      Did Obama promise he would not put SS on the table? If he did, it may have been four years ago. But no such language has come from his mouth recently. The closest I can come to that is him saying something like "we aren't going to balance the budget on the backs of middle-class families, students, and seniors." Which is an encouraging statement but far from concretely saying there will be no cuts to social security. In fact, I remember him using phrases like that we needed some "tweaks to social security"

      "Today is who you are" - my wife

      by I Lurked For Years on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:47:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent recap of his weasel words (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        I Lurked For Years, dkosdan

        But did he go to the voters and say, "If you elect me in November, the first thing I'm going to do after the election is cut your Social Security benefits in order to make tax cuts for people earning $400K every year permanent".  

        I don't recall that.  

        •  Obama's trained in law (0+ / 0-)

          He chooses his words carefully, and you have to read between the lines. His success has always stemmed from his ability to speak in broad and vague language. Not from his passionate defense of specific policy proposals, if there have ever been such things.

          "Today is who you are" - my wife

          by I Lurked For Years on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:11:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Don't worry, Mr. Boehner. (7+ / 0-)

    Just wait another week, and Obama will have bargained himself down to a "reluctant signing" of Plan B.

    Just like he bargained himself down on the "line in the sand" Social Security cuts.

    As for you Mr. President, learn from this - if you haven't from the other instances - that caving in to terrorists only encourages more terrorism. Rewarding hostage-takers emboldens them to take more hostages.

    •  If he hasn't learned it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherjon, DSPS owl

      in the last half dozen times he's caved, there is little hope he will ever learn.

    •  President Obama doesnt need to learn (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      anything from anything. This is his last term and he has no scandal attached to his White House. So he will be leaving office unscathed. As for the folks who voted for the President (including me), well, tough luck/fate or it is Karma. The SS cuts are going to come, the stock market seems to like it and with pension funds attached to the market: markets are becoming the next TBTF entities (iirc the reason BP did not go bankrupt was that some corrupt fund managers is UK refused to dump the stock during the spill so that this can be used to limit the damages to the company).

      The volume in the stock markets needs to be reigned in: lets is get a transaction tax on quotes so we can at least be part of the pipe. But we cant muddle fiscal cliff discussions with financial regulations at this time? Can we
      start to talk about this some day inside the White House, because this is not a new idea anyway.

  •  The White House lacks imagination: (3+ / 0-)

    Look, I totally get where they are coming from with respect to wanting to get immigration done and not have to deal with Congress on boring ass budget issues all next year. I get that. But here's the thing: just fucking JAM these guys on the debt ceiling!

    They are misreading who has the leverage on the debt ceiling as I've been saying for weeks now. It is OBAMA who has the debt ceiling leverage because the House WILL NOT DEFAULT. EVER. They wont. I can assure you they will never do it. It is purely, purely a bluff.

    So yes, if the GOP wants to make next year's domestic agenda easy, then fine. They can go ahead and pass the Senate's tax cut bill. But if they want to make next year difficult, cutting a deal that hurts our side wont fix that problem. It will aggrivate it.

    Therefore the choice is simple: restart negotiations in the new year and move the fuck on when you can really JAM these guys.

    •  they took all options off the table (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Occam's razor would say they want the GOP to have the debt ceiling threat...otherwise, they wouldn't be ceding ground.

      But that is cynical...but it also doesn't make it the most viable option...

      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

      by justmy2 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:52:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

      I fully believe if they thought it would hurt Obama they would have NO problem letting the country default.

      "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

      by Whimsical on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:54:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama can't be hurt. You don't get that? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, FindingMyVoice, bryduck

        Short of impeachment and conviction, which will never happen, he can't be hurt ever again. Those days are over.

        The only people who will get absolutely destroyed by a default is every billionaire investor in the country. Oil prices will collapse. Bond markets will tank. Derivatives investors will be instantly wiped out. In other words, it is the Republican party's paymasters who will be hurt the most.

        They'll never default.

        •  I get that. I don't believe the tea party does. (0+ / 0-)

          And as for the Republican party's paymasters, I firmly believe they have been trying to engineer the collapse of this country for decades, so they can transform it into a fascist theocracy.

          The tea party's stupidity over the debt limit is just the perfect tool they need to get the collapse they WANT.

          They'll default (with the full blessing of their paymasters)- they just won't like the consequences.

          "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

          by Whimsical on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:00:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No way in hell. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FindingMyVoice, greenbell

            They don't want a fascist theocracy. They want a corporate oligarchy.

            They aren't going to bring about global collapse to get there. No way in hell. People will nationalize oil properties. The European Union will go totally full bore socialist. Other nations will follow the U.S. and start defaulting as interest rates go through the roof. They aren't going to do this.

            Don't ever believe it for one second.

            •  I hope you're right. (0+ / 0-)

              I believe you're wrong.

              Time will tell.

              "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

              by Whimsical on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:19:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Slight quibble (0+ / 0-)

              The "paymasters" definitely want a corporate oligarchy, though the tea party activists probably favor a fascist theocracy. What we already have is a corporate oligarchy. When that fails, what we just may well get is a fascist theocracy.

              "Today is who you are" - my wife

              by I Lurked For Years on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:51:36 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greenbell, I Lurked For Years

            You lost this argument when Rmoney became the candidate.  The Tea Party not only didn't get their guy, they voted for Rmoney.  The guys running the GOP are the Kochs and their ilk.

            •  Who want a collapse of this country. (0+ / 0-)

              The Tea Party are just the "useful idiots" they're using to get it.

              "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

              by Whimsical on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:18:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  NOW? Now President Obama Threatens A Veto? (6+ / 0-)

    He's already given away the store and sold out society's most vulnerable members.

    If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:49:22 AM PST

  •  Good news for McCain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    singe, JML9999

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:49:25 AM PST

  •  I am convinced this policy operation in the WH (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, PorridgeGun, greenbell, masslib

    and it's leader are lost...and desperate.

    Why??  Who the heck knows...

    But read this again...

    WASHINGTON — The White House says President Barack Obama would veto House Speaker John Boehner's `Plan B' proposal for extending tax cuts for people making up to $1 million.

    White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer says it is unlikely that such a bill would pass the Senate. In a statement, he says the deficit reduction that would result from the `Plan B' approach is minimal and offers no spending cuts.

    Has the President been running around with a pen saying he would sign the exact same thing at $250 right now?  Without spending cuts?

    When the other side gets you to start contradicting your baseline positions, you are losing.

    Only incompetence and total cowardice/fear would get this current WH to the position of losing with nothing but wind their backs.

    Or...incredible pushing Pete Peterson's plan and getting Democrats to buy it.  Stephanie Cutter did say on MSNBC that Pete Peterson was the person to look to when consider deficit cutting options.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:49:48 AM PST

  •  Some day, I want to play (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cjo30080, teacherjon, masslib, DSPS owl

    high stakes poker with Obama.

    I'll clean him out.

    •  So would a 3 year old. (0+ / 0-)

      One tantrum and he would be buying that kid candy, all the toys in Toys "R" Us, and let him/her stay up all night every night.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:43:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  John Boeher wants to continue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    being Speaker Boehner. That's what all this kabuki is about. He'll lead the entire country off the cliff if that's what it takes.

  •  Jed Lewison wrote,... (5+ / 0-)

    "I'd say that President Obama is extremely eager to get a deal done..."

    It's true. Despite assertions to the contrary, President Obama has made it clear that a Grand Bargain deal is very, very important to him, and that he doesn't want to go over the so-called fiscal cliff.

    If Obama were planning on purchasing a new car, he's walk into the dealership and make it clear to the salesman that he (Obama) can't afford to walk off the lot without a car. He truly is the worst. negotiator. ever.

    •  Probably pays full sticker price, too. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  He hasn't even gotten to the Grand Bargain Yet (0+ / 0-)

      He's saving Medicare to be bargained there. If they do this deal, it is not the last deal.  It is just an expedient deal.  I mean this fiscal cliff thing was supposed to protect Social Security and instead they are using Social Security as an expedient chip on the table to make this "I don't have time for this, we need to get to Hawaii for Christmas. Throw granny over the cliff so I can leave town quick. Besides she won't find out about it until she hits the rocks" deal.

  •  I wanna puke (9+ / 0-)

    It's not just Obama...even Pelosi said she'd go along with cuts to Social Security.

    "Electing more and better Democrats" is all well and good, but what happens when the party leadership's actual agenda is a neoliberal wet dream?

    They're barely even trying to appear to "represent" us. Your choices at the voting booth are between a regressive neoliberal economic platform, and an even more regressive neoliberal economic platform. Despite neither having popular support. And the actually popular platforms are all considered "unrealistic".

    This is not democracy.

    "just give me some truth" --John Lennon

    by vernon nackulus on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:55:31 AM PST

    •  Agree (0+ / 0-)

      "Electing more and better Democrats" is kind of like very nice icing on the cake when the whole cake is rotten. We need significant structural changes to our entire system of government. And "better" is a very vague concept.

      "Today is who you are" - my wife

      by I Lurked For Years on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:56:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  202-456-1111 is always busy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    try 202-456-1414 is an open line to the WH

    Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. John Donne

    by scurrvydog on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:58:07 AM PST

  •  Three card monte, NOT 11 dimensional chess (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    For the past several months, it strikes me now that PBO has been playing three card monte, NOT 11-dimensional chess.  He's as good at three card monte as he is awful at protecting the poor and middle class in alleged negotiations with the GOP.  The only way he can redeem himself is by taking chained-CPI and the $400K offer off the table, RIGHT NOW.

  •  Brown guy wins White House 2x but is a patsy? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  I Think It's High Time (0+ / 0-)

    For Durbin and some others to have a Come To Jesus meeting with President Spineless and assure him that this shit is not going to fly in the senate.  

    Abolish The Filibuster Now!

    by Ky DEM on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:59:36 AM PST

  •  The veto of plan B is a good start for Obama. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ky DEM, Jerry056

    What he needs to do is go back to the 250k threshold and claim that the GOP is not negotiating in good faith.  In fact, he should do nothing. Just go to Hawaii for the holidays and come back post January 1 with the new tax rates in place.  

    I need to write a thank you note to Boehner.  Because of his stupid plan b, there will be no deal before the New Year.  Harry Reid and the Senate seem to be taking a more leading role in these discussions after Obama seemed willing to fumble away his advantage.  That's a good thing for Democrats.  There should be no grand bargain discussions until after the new year and after the middle class tax issue has been dealt with. Force the GOP to vote on the bill that already passed the Senate.

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:00:56 AM PST

  •  Hum... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think the Republicans are setting the scene for a debt ceiling fight they think they can win and are attempting to lure Obama into taking a quick-fix watered down tax bill before the end of the year to remove his tax advantage.

    Whatever, we must be mindful of what the Fix the Debtors are doing.

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:03:44 AM PST

    •  More... (0+ / 0-)

      We should duck this watered down bill; it takes away Democrats best advantage, go over he cliff.

      Were I cynical, I would say the fix is in...

          Speaker John A. Boehner’s proposed fallback plan to deal with the tax rate increases looming at the end of the year would give Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid what might be a much-needed Christmas present.

          When the House Rules Committee gave formal notice of a meeting to set up floor debate for test votes on two proposals to extend some expiring tax rates, the panel’s advisory noted the measures would be offered as substitute amendments to a carefully selected but wholly unrelated bill.

          The shell of a joint resolution that began as a routine annual extension of import restrictions on Myanmar will become the legislative vehicle selected for the so-called “plan B” by Boehner, R-Ohio. The measure (H J Res 66) has already passed through both the House and Senate in different forms, which may give it obscure procedural advantages that could cut down on the time needed to approve a final fiscal cliff deal.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:40:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, but would Obama veto his OWN proposal (0+ / 0-)

    if Boehner called his "bluff" and accepted it?

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:06:05 AM PST

    •  That's the point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Boehner doesn't have the votes for his OWN proposal, you think Boehner would have the votes for Obama's compromise deal?

      If we assume no deal is getting done, then Obama isn't hurt by showing how many painful cuts he would be willing to make in the name in compromise.

  •  President Obama Is (0+ / 0-)

    By far the worst negotiator ever. Either that or he's really a Republican, wants to shit on the Democratic base and the elderly thus ensuring permanent Republican governmental control.

    If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:09:02 AM PST

  •  Maybe Obama needs a vacation (0+ / 0-)

    Send him to Hawaii.  And hope that a few grandmothers give Congress hell over the holidays.

  •  Just tremendously discouraging (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl, schnecke21

    The once most advanced nation in the world continues to be savaged by stupidity, greed, fraud, cruelty and outright disdain for the vast majority of Americans by a government that refuses to govern.

    Was it too much to hope that maybe, just maybe the President's reelection would have sent a message to him that there were very specific wishes by the voters; that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid be protected?  That someone bring the fight to the party that has all but destroyed the future for millions of Americans?  That there is literally no constructive proposal from the asylum known as the House of Representatives?  

    The President seems far more interested in Boehner's survival than in our survival.

    •  Did he think he got a mandate to cut SS? (0+ / 0-)

      Did he think he got a mandate to cut Social Security?  

      I could at least respect the steel minded purpose of the Republicans if they won an election on the Ryan budget.  

      I have contempt for politicians who hide their agenda.  Oh, I know.  It was there between the lines.  He didn't fool me.  But he very deliberately fooled most Americans who had no clue he was going to agree to cut Social Security benefits.

      I mean what middle class American believes you balance cutting Social Security benefits with giving tax cuts to people making $400K or more?  There is no balance in that approach.  That is a wealth transfer from the almost poor to the almost rich.  

      This deal increases the size of the donut hole in the middle class.

  •  "uncertainties"?? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    "Obama is eager to get  a deal done to avoid the uncertainties"??  

    If the administration does not have quality analysis of the impact of the "fiscal curb" then all is lost.  These people HAVE to be top professionals with access to unlimited data.  How can there be "uncertainties" to the extent of making the President "eager to get a deal done"?

    Being "eager" in a negotiation is basically equal to losing the negotiation.

    Not having a solid analysis of the downside, being "uncertain" is unacceptable and dangerous.

    What is the "cliff"?  Taxes go back to Clinton era levels for everyone - So What?   The economy and the average citizen was doing fine at those tax levels.  People forget the much ballyhooed Bush tax cut only return about $600 to the average taxpayer.  

    It will enforce mandatory sending cuts on the every federal department - including DEFENSE.  A 15% cut in the defense budget would be fantastic!  It would be a chance to prove how much more can be reduced there.

    I am highly skeptical of the impact of the "cliff".  Whatever the impact is, there is plenty of options to pass a new budget and legislation in 2013 to make adjustments.

    Obama won by a historic margin - based on a campaign that addressed this very topic.  To compromise significantly now because eagerness and uncertainty is a total disaster.

    In other words, exactly what we should be bracing for.

    Obama will NOT force the republican hand and make them bend to his will (and the will of the people).  He WILL agree to onerous cuts to earned benefit programs and leave the military untouched.  

  •  Republicans OWN the sequester (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crankypatriot, DSPS owl, schnecke21

    They have no ground for complaining about it.

    They demanded it in eschange for the 2011 debt ceiling fights.

    They had a chance to negotiate it away through the Superb Committee and didn't.

    Every dollar the GOP tries to reduce from the sequester is more proof that they were acting in horrible, very bad faith in 2011. They wanted the mantle of fiscal responsibility without, you know, the responsibility part.

    ad astra per alia porci

    by harrije on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:30:45 AM PST

  •  There may be no deal that can pass this congress (0+ / 0-)

    Just because Boner and Obama come to an agreement does not mean their deal can pass. Republicans will vote against any tax increase and Democrats will vote against anything that cuts Social Security benefits.

    •  Good! I don't want the tax cuts (0+ / 0-)

      Really, it's all nonsense.  Let them all go up.  So people will cut their spending.  It's insane to think that we have to constantly spend, spend, spend.  It's not getting is anywhere.  The real problem is democracy in the work place and tax cuts won't get it done.  We need more worker coops to fight the trend to outsource jobs overseas, bust up unions, etc...

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:52:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Boehner is right about one thing (0+ / 0-)

    Obama does keep moving the goalpost.

    What Boehner neglects to say, of course, is that Obama keeps moving the goalpost in Boehner's favor. And each move is never enough.

    There has to be a better way.

    by lotac on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:42:48 AM PST

  •  Barf! (0+ / 0-)

    Screw Boner's plan B.  Let all the tax cuts expire.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:50:41 AM PST

  •  Jesus - when your offer is rejected, it's void. (0+ / 0-)

    Obama, the $400k isn't on the table any more.  Be a used car salesman for once.  Tell them too late - $250k take it or leave it.

    Economic Left/Right: -7.38
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.00
    Two steps to the right of Trotsky.

    by jvance on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:03:30 AM PST

  •  *sigh* I'm numb to Obamas poor negotiating (0+ / 0-)

    It's the type of shit from him that infuriates me but I knew that when I voted again for him. It is what it is...  I can't explain their approach anymore. It's seems nonsensical and desperate.

  •  Plan BATNA (0+ / 0-)

    That's "Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement" and it is what "Plan B" is all about.

    For President Obama, his best alternative to the current round of negotiations is to let the deadlines expire, then come back next year.  This might put him in a stronger position (Republicans can claim they voted for tax cuts instead of tax hikes, etc., etc., etc.), but there is a risk that the public blames him for the "failure" especially if the economy starts to notice.

    For Speaker Boehner, that alternative doesn't look too palatable, especially with polling saying that alienating the public is unlikely, so he's trying to change the game by proposing "Plan B".  Even if it has no hope of passing, he can now claim that it is actually President Obama who is throwing a Presidential tantrum and holding the nation hostage if he doesn't get his way on tax hikes on $250,000/yr - $1,000,000/yr. That's a line that can spin well enough for his base, and can't be countered nearly as briefly as it can be stated.  That base will largely buy it because they like to dream that they themselves could someday make $400,000/yr, which feels a lot more real than dreaming of making $1,000,000/yr+.

  •  I Don't know about You (0+ / 0-)

    but let's go off the cliff.  :P  

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