Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mutually Assured Destruction

Interesting day yesterday. Obama appeared to be righteously pissed off, although according to Lawrence O’Donnell that was mere pretence since he is brilliantly accomplishing exactly what he is attempting to do. More on that thought a bit later.

The Republican position is, of course, idiotic. George the First did not lose because he raised taxes, he lost because he made far too big of a crusade about not raising taxes before he raised them. Dozens, hundreds of politicians of politicians have been reelected after raising taxes. Every politician who has been reelected has been reelected after breaking promises. What causes loss is making major crusades out of promises, and then breaking them, and this crowd is making one huge hell of a crusade out of not raising taxes which will eventually be raised.

I’m not seeing Obama in all that much better light, though, because there is evidence that he did deliberately blow up the “grand bargain” talks, if not by moving the goal posts then by simply throwing too many ingredients into the stew. Or too many cooks into the kitchen. Or a monkey wrench into the gear train. Whatever.

Indeed, Lawrence O’Donnell pontificated at length last night about how brilliant Obama has been throughout this entire process by proposing a “grand bargain” which was entirely a bluff, a proposal on which he never had the slightest intention of making good, and how every time he had Boehner at the point of accepting it he would add new terms to it to assure that Boehner could not accept it.

There’s no way to know if any of that is true, because Obama never put anything in writing, although he has promised to provide all of it in written form retroactively. Heh.

O’Donnell is simply awestruck by the President’s brilliance at having “forced John Boehner to walk out” of the talks, so that Obama will not have to “make any of the painful moves” necessary to achieve the proposed grand bargain. That will result, according to O’Donnell, in the President getting what he asked for to begin with, which is “a clean bill raising the debt ceiling, with no deal on the deficit at all.”

Or it could result in a deadlock, by O’Donnell’s own statement created by Obama, which results in default and the second Great Depression. O’Donnell rules that out, but I’m not so sure. If you back someone into a corner and give him no options at all, sometimes he just pulls the pin on the grenade and blows everyone up.

Assuming O’Donnell is right and Obama gets the debt ceiling increase without “having to make any of the painful moves necessary to achieve the proposed grand bargain.” That leaves him with an ongoing deficit, and eating a lot of words he has uttered about how urgently we need to deal with that deficit. He is then “the president who refused to cut spending and reduce the deficit.” I’m not sure how easily even he is going to talk his way out of that in an election year, and that’s the best possible outcome for him.

Pretty hard to say he has the Republicans on the ropes as of yet.

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