Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Unreasonable Intransigence?

Lawrence O’Donnell is back, complete with his unique definitions of political positions and campaign strategies. In talking about the impasse on the deficit negotiations that all have agreed to as a condition for the relatively unrelated issue of raising the debt ceiling, he described the issue thusly.

If the President can’t agree to a bill that doesn’t include tax revenue increases, and Boehner can’t agree to a bill that does… Since the President has successfully and accurately portrayed failure to raise the debt ceiling as the result of nothing but unreasonable Republican intransigence…

First, the failure is actually on reducing the deficit, and both sides have agreed to make that a condition for raising the debt ceiling. Obama is not even calling for a debt ceiling increase absent budget negotiations and, despite O’Donnell’s claims, he never actually took any sort of stand on that position from the beginning.

He also ranted at some length that the only thing that Obama would not agree to was a “short term deal,” and now he is saying that Obama will not accept a deal which does not contain tax increase revenues. So that storyline changed even within the same segment of his show.

And the fundamentals of his claim are a bit odd, as well. When Boehner refuses an agreement which includes tax increase revenue he is being “unreasonably intransigent.” When Obama refuses an agreement which does not include tax increase revenue he is being, what? Not unreasonable or intransigent, certainly. Right, he is being “the adult in the room.” Because tax increases are balanced, reasonable and adult, and being against them is childish.

I happen to favor tax increases, but let’s call the situation what it is. Both sides at this point are being what O’Donnell accuses only one side of being – intransigent. If that were not the case we would not have an impasse, we would have an agreement because the side that was not being intransigent would have made the agreement on the other side’s terms. An impasse cannot occur when only one side is refusing to agree.

I know, liberals will claim that Republicans are being “unreasonably intransigent” while Obama is being “reasonably intransigent,” but that still invalidates O’Donnell’s claim that “failure to raise the debt limit is the result of nothing but Republican…”

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