Finally: Leadership

Finally, leadership.

Well, the Republicans are “startled,” according to the Washington Post. After three weeks of mucking around, making derogatory statements, and cursing their bad “luck,” they’re finally having to face a shift in power.

Two things stand out in the media’s commentaries: “exit polls” (showing a daunting degree of disapproval of Republicans on most issues), and Obama as Real President. No longer a Kenyan foundling, racial inferior, or Muslim spy, President Obama has taken charge. The GOP is taking a spanking from the public and the Democrats are seen as the reasonable party by most voters and “more like responsible leaders.”

Yesterday Obama said, Okay, here’s how we’re going to deal with your delays, your fiscal irresponsibility …

President Obama offered Republicans a detailed plan Thursday for averting the year-end “fiscal cliff” that calls for $1.6 trillion in new taxes, $50 billion in fresh spending on the economy and an effective end to congressional control over the size of the national debt. …WaPo

… And we’ll take no more guff.

The proposal, delivered to the Capitol by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, mirrors previous White House deficit-reduction plans and satisfies Democrats’ demands that negotiations begin on terms dictated by the newly-reelected president.

The offer lacks any concessions to Republicans, most notably on the core issue of where to set tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. …WaPo

The response from Republicans? “Aw, gee.”

After two weeks of talks between the White House and aides to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), it seemed to take Republicans by surprise. …WaPo

They’d also be required to put down their popguns and quit making trouble.

Although the White House offer seemed to startle Republicans, it contains little that would be unfamiliar to anyone following the president’s recent public statements. The exception was his proposal on the federal debt limit. GOP aides said Obama is seeking to permanently enact procedures that were temporarily adopted in the summer of 2011 that allow the White House to unilaterally increase the debt ceiling unless two-thirds of lawmakers disapprove.

That process, initially proposed by McConnell, was not intended to become permanent. By trying to make it so, Obama is seeking to avoid another damaging battle over the debt ceiling that would again risk a national default. However, this change would also deprive Congress of its historic authority over federal borrowing.WaPo

Kah-boom!

Now, could we give the real cliff, not the Republicans’ self-imposed downhill slide, all of our attention? Climate change is our most dangerous enemy. Unless we deal with it we’ll be in the kind of trouble we have trouble even trying to picture. The crisis created by Republicans’ spending habits deserve a sustained spanking but not center stage — even as we ignore the real dangers ahead.

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Boehner? Well, he was gobsmacked by the straightforward proposal Team Obama set out yesterday.

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Margaret Hartmann, at Daily Intel, has a nice summary of what all this amounts to.

… The proposal just shows that the president feels he has the upper hand and is willing to put pressure on the Republicans. In the Post Ezra Klein writes that Obama used to “offer plans that roughly tracked where he thought the compromise should end up,” but after a few years in the White House he’s learned that he shouldn’t be “negotiating with himself.”

It’s obvious that the president didn’t expect the GOP to happily sign off on his initial proposal, but he wants them to have to push for their unpopular demands — though, as Politico reported on Thursday, both sides have an idea of what the deal will probably look like. “There’s the public choreography, then there is the real choreography,” Rep. Rob Andrews tells the Wall Street Journal. “To reach a deal, it has to look like there was a lot of fighting before the deal was reached.”…Daily Intel

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Taegan Goddard finds a great quote from The Economist:

By cynical tradition ‘abroad’ is where American presidents go to seek a legacy, after their domestic agendas have stalled. This is especially true of second-term presidents. As they lose momentum at home, the temptation is to head overseas in search of crises that only American clout can resolve.

At the outset of his second term, Barack Obama seems to be planning the opposite approach. Mr Obama and his team believe that his outstanding task is to secure a domestic legacy. Their fear is that foreign entanglements may threaten that goal. …The Economist/Political Wire

But here’s reality, thanks, in my view, to the weakness of a feckless Congress that’s taking no responsibility for “fixing America”:

Fresh crises will come. If America is pulled in deeply, it will be against all Mr Obama’s instincts. The president has plans; but they revolve around fixing America, not the world. …The Economist

Cross posted from Prairie Weather

Author: PRAIRIE WEATHER

  • zephyr

    Mr Obama and his team believe that his outstanding task is to secure a domestic legacy.

    Let’s hope so. Taking a hard line on the so-called “fiscal cliff” would be a good step in that direction. The GOP has sabotaged any right they may have once had to be seen as credible players in this. Obama needs to lay down the law without blinking.

  • Jim Satterfield

    The reaction of GOP “leadership” is telling. Basically they threw a tantrum rather than come up with a viable counteroffer.

  • The_Ohioan

    JS No, Boehner laughed at Tim Geitner’s offer. Now that’s leadership! He who laughs last, laughs best.

  • zephyr

    John Boehner is useless and ineffective. He and McCain can both retire any time now.

  • http://www.americaincontext.com Barky

    Well now wait a minute. GOP leadership vacuousness aside, Obama didn’t actually put forth a compromise plan, did he? Tax increases AND spending increases? That’s not meeting halfway at all. Should be both tax increases & spending CUTS if it’s supposed to be a compromise.

    O isn’t exactly acting like an adult here, either.

  • cjjack

    Well now wait just one more minute, Barky. In the world of vacuous GOP leadership, that was a compromise plan. If you recall, Speaker Spray Tan once griped that he got “only” 98 percent of what he wanted the last time there was a compromise, indicating that 97 percent was a bridge too far, to say nothing of halfway.

    O is acting like a negotiator, which is a welcome change. Before, he’d come in with the best case for the other side. He’d meet ‘em halfway before the negotiations even started, and start knuckling under from there.

    It’s kinda like if you went into a car dealer and said “I’ll pay sticker price, but not a dime more!” You’ve already lost the negotiation, and they’re gonna play you for a sucker.

    This time, Obama offered to pay below the dealer invoice and asked for more than his trade-in is worth. Unrealistic? Sure, but it is a better starting point if the goal is to arrive at the halfway point.

  • http://www.americaincontext.com Barky

    We are in a worse situation now than before and he puts forth a total non-compromise plan with 0% chance of success. He’s planning to fail! Clearly he doesn’t care about the sequestration or the deficit and is playing games with us. I don’t understand his strategy or purpose here. It’s clearly not “working with Congress” like hepromised. He’s guaranteeing further gridlock!!