Jun 30 2011

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The “Obamanator” and the Debt Limit

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All that was missing was a warning that “he’d be back.”

Otherwise, it was POTUS at his pugnacious best at yesterday’s press conference.

House Republicans? 

Nothing more than a bunch of vacation-obsessed girlie-men.  Worse, his daughters, aged 13 and 10, had a better work ethic than the GOP.

 And all this talk by the GOP that the President is not leading?


Don’t we see how busy and productive he is?

Channeling his inner Donald Trump, POTUS  even discussed his efforts to streamline regulations. “But what I’ve done – and this is unprecedented by the way – no administration has done this before…”

And that’s not counting President managing Afghanistan, killing bin Laden and working through the Greek debt crisis.

The Greek debt crisis? 

The President stated, “I want to make sure that I’m not involved in scare tactics,” and then went on to scare the bejesus out of anyone listening.

According to POTUS, in the debt limit battle, the Republicans are champions of millionaires, billionaires, hedge fund managers, Big Oil and private jets.

And the result of this apparent bias?

A contaminated national food supply, cancer run amok and the Old Farmer’s Almanac instead of the National Weather Service.

Really, how dare the Republicans!  But no scare tactics here.

Still, the forceful presentation obscured the President’s own curious subtleties and political contradictions.

For instance, in laying out his view, POTUS continually talked about “tough choices,” but there was scant evidence that he was willing to make them.

Entitlements? He’s committed to tough choices, but benefit cuts in the out-years – the decisive driver of future deficits – are off the table.

Trade deals to promote exports?  The President is impatient to get them approved.

But he won’t take on his own Caucus that is holding the deals hostage for tribute payable to POTUS’ union backers, for “jobs at risk.”

 But – irony alert –  there aren’t any union jobs at risk.  

The agreements would level the playing field for American companies that currently operate at a disadvantage.

On this, POTUS is silent.

But what all of this means in sum is less amusing.

By going public against the Republicans so harshly – even disparagingly – the President has signaled that the gulf between the himself and the GOP on debt limit talks is probably unbridgeable. 

You don’t insult your negotiating partner if you believe a deal is in the offing.

As a result, with a month to go before the magic August 2nd default date, the White House is apparently constructing a class warfare narrative that lays blame for the crisis squarely on the GOP’s doorstep, even if the President’s own solutions are less real than apparent.

Gloves are off.  Chicago rules prevail.

But the President and his aides have miscalculated, a victim of  the “false choice” rhetorical device that POTUS revels in using. 

The alternative here is not between a debt deal that includes tax increases or a catastrophic national default. 

Indeed, now that the President has signaled his intentions, the GOP can rapidly call the President’s bluff by shaping a shorter term debt limit package,  made up entirely of the cuts that the Administration has already agreed to. 

It would then be up to the Democratic controlled Senate and the President to reject a deal that raises the debt limit before August 2nd on the parochial charge that it does not include tax increases. 

It would be the second time since the budget deal last December that the GOP has done a “rope-a-dope” on the President regarding spending cuts. It is sure to infuriate the President’s base and cause chaos and recrimination among Democrat rank and file.

In stark contrast, the Republicans will have stood firm on spending cuts as the sole driver of a budget deal that will offset the debt increase, dollar for dollar.

Who comes out of this looking principled and serious?

Sure, this would mean that Congress cannot kick the debt limit can past 2012, but perhaps that is not a bad thing.

The debt limit issue has become a parable for the bright line choice we face in 2012. 

The President is fond of saying that arguments are settled in elections.  Our political process has ground to a halt not out of pique or procedure, but out of fundamental principle. It will be up to voters to decide if it is the President, or the Republicans who represent the direction they want for the future.

That will ultimately decide if a newly feisty President Obama will “be back” in 2013.


1 comment

  1. fashionreplica

    Very informative blog article.Really thank you! Keep writing.

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