Obama And Boehner Can Negotiate, If They Really Want To

There's a way for President Obama and Speaker Boehner to talk out a deal to resolve the current crisis, but they have to want to do it.

Obama-Boehner-sour-2

Throughout the ongoing government shutdown crisis and the approaching crisis over the debt ceiling, President Obama has repeatedly made clear that he does not intend to negotiate with Republicans in the House or Senate over either issue until they have passed “clean” bills that both fund the operation of the government for a short period of time and raise the debt ceiling. As I’ve noted before, there is at least some evidence in the polls that this is a position that could end up becoming politically untenable, especially as we get close to the October 17th date that the Treasury Department has set for when we will reach the limit of out borrowing authority. The response from the Administration and it’s supporters has ranged from the idea that the President should not have to negotiate over matters that are unrelated either to government funding or the debt ceiling, and that President Obama is unwilling to bind future Presidents by conceding a point that could give future Congressional “hostage taking.” While there is some value in both these points, National Journal’s Ron Fournier argues that, for better or worse, the President will have to engage in some form of negotiation if these twin crises are going to be resolved, but that he can do so in a manner that doesn’t constitute “caving” to the GOP:

Obama has at least two incentives to talk. First, there is the matter of optics. Voters want to believe that their leaders are open-minded, a trait they particularly expect in a president who promised to change the culture of Washington. Obama simply undermines his credibility by stiff-arming the GOP. Their obstinacy is no excuse for his. During the last protracted government shutdown, President Clinton talked almost every day with GOP rivals Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole.

Second, Obama has an opportunity to deftly steer an embattled and divided GOP away from Obamacare and to an issue worthy of high-stakes negotiations: The nation’s long-term budget crisis. While it’s true that the deficit has dropped in recent months, nothing has been done to secure Social Security and Medicare beyond the next 10 years. Punting this red-ink quandary to the next president would mar Obama’s legacy.

In April, I wrote that both the White House and the GOP House had incentive to strike a deal that would both raise taxes and trim entitlement spending. The story traced the outlines of such a deal, but the moment was lost. Boehner doesn’t trust Obama and is worried about a revolt from his no-compromise caucus. Obama doesn’t trust Boehner and is worried about a revolt from his no-compromise caucus. The House speaker reportedly raised the idea of a so-called grand bargain at a White House meeting last week, and got laughed at. That is the exact wrong response.

If Obama is going to blink, it should not be over Obamacare. On government debt, however, a little humility and risk in the short-term might earn Obama the nation’s gratitude for generations.

Fournier has it largely correct here, I think. Notwithstanding the arguments that the Administration’s reasons for not negotiating, it strikes me that a President who says at one point that the nation faces fiscal and economic calamity of action isn’t taken soon is not acting very, well, Presidential by saying that he’s not going to negotiate until he gets his way. This is, after all, the economy of the United States we’re talking about here, not a conversation in Lake Tahoe between Michael Corleone and Senator Geary over a casino license. As the polls seem to be indicating, the American people viewing this from the outside seem to be expecting the people who represent them to, well, represent them, and refusing to talk likely doesn’t go over very well with the American people. So, like it or not, I stand by my previous position that, realistically, the President is going to find himself in a position in where he will have to talk whether he likes it or not.

The question is what they ought to be talking about, of course. I agree with those who say that Obamacare should be largely off the table. Not only is it largely unrelated to the fiscal issues raised by the CR and the debt ceiling, but its something that has been politically fought over and litigated for three years now.  It was a prominent part of the Republican campaign in 2010, it was litigated in numerous Federal Courts and before the Supreme Court, and it was a central part of the 2012 Presidential campaign. After all of that, the GOP simply doesn’t have the political power it needs to force any real changes in the law beyond something minor like repeal of the medical device tax. This isn’t to say that they should give up on the issue, indeed if the law turns out to be as bad as they think it will it should be a central part of the 2014 and 2016 campaigns, however if there are going to be any real changes to the PPACA they are going to have to wait until the GOP wins more elections. That’s simple, cold, reality.

This is why Fournier’s idea should be appealing to Republicans and why they should set aside for the moment their obsession with the shiny object of Obamacare, which is going to get them nowhere.

One problem with Fournier’s idea, of course, is that there is far too little time between now and mid-October for any kind of “grand bargain” that covers topics with as many disagreements between the parties as entitlement spending, tax reform, and the appropriate levels of non-entitlement spending in the future. If such a deal were going to be negotiated, it’s something that the parties should have been talking about months ago. No such conversations took place, of course, and it’s now kind of late to be talking about such a thing with less than ten days left before we hit a position that threatens to put the nation in a politically and fiscally untenable situation. The only way such discussions could take place, of course, would be if we could delay things with the idea that Congress and the White House will use the intervening time to have serious discussions about this “grand bargain” idea. That’s a solution that others started suggested this week, and just today a senior White House official hinted that the President might be open to a short-term debt ceiling increase, along with a short-term CR, in order to buy time to reach a broader and more long term agreement.

There’s just one problem, and that’s the fact that we’ve been down this road before. If one searches the news archives, one finds that the only time this entire idea of a “grand bargain” is something that only seems to come up when our political leaders in Washington find themselves with their backs against the wall on a budgetary or debt ceiling issue. Invariably, it’s something that they don’t seem to get around to talking about until the last possible minute, thus forcing them to punt the issue down the road a couple months at which point the talks, if they even occur, end up proving to be rather pointless. After the 2011 debt ceiling showdown, neither side was willing to cede significant ground because the 2012 elections were around the corner. This time, it’s likely to be the 2014 elections that cause both parties to be reluctant to give in on those matters that could be used as campaign issues. So, yes, I think Fournier may be onto something here and this this is a way that Obama and Boehner could approach a resolution of our current unnecessary crisis that would allow both sides to save face. In the end, though, I can’t believe that it’s going to be any more successful than previous efforts.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    Obama and the Senate Dems have adopted a very forward position with what they call the “clean CR.” It is a continuation of current status quo, with Republican numbers.

    Now, it is true Obama “could” negotiate.

    Will you accept that he should immediately step back from that “clean CR” and adopt a “starting position” much more to the Left?

    I seem to recall that OTB is very big on such “starting positions” (Ryan Plan, etc.)

  2. Moosebreath says:

    In effect, what Fournier is proposing is that the parties agree to an X month clean CR and an equal length extension of the debt ceiling, while the parties negotiate a grand bargain.

    I think Obama would say that this proposal is consistent with his statements that we can negotiate such things so long as they are not being done with a gun to his head. I also think such a proposal would get over 90% of Democratic votes, and perhaps 10% of Republican votes.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    I believe the larger question is whether or not Speaker Boehner has any power at all to extract the type of concessions (short of defunding or delaying implementation of ACA) that would get the support of House leadership.

    Also, I do not consider any “grand bargain” that represents a kind of ‘cooling off period’ that buys more time until we hit the Debt Limit Ceiling again in the short-term, to be any kind of solution at all – we’ll be back to hostage-taking again in short order if we do that.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    This entire post assumes the GOP are rational actors…based on the evidence at hand, they are not.

  5. gVOR08 says:

    I don’t read the National Journal so I’m not very aware of Fournier except that he seems to have a reputation as the archetypical inside the beltway, VSP, “both sides do it”, “if only we could just get along”, conventional wisdom twit. Now I see why. I thought this place was called Outside the Beltway?

    We do not have a budget crisis. We have an unemployment crisis and an easily resolved budget problem. Easily resolved if, in the real world, Republicans really “had incentive to strike a deal that would both raise taxes…”.

  6. Geek, Esq. says:

    The reason Boehner got laughed at is that he can’t and won’t deliver GOP votes for whatever deal he would negotiate. His balls are sitting in a jar on Ted Cruz’s desk. Until he reclaims them, he’s due all the respect Yasser Arafat was towards the end of his reign.

    If there’s no possibility of a deal, there’s really no point in having negotiations, is there?

  7. Rob in CT says:

    @john personna:

    Oh, so very much THIS.

    Given the (ever-shifting) laundry list of Republican demands, the Democrats should also create a wishlist. It should definitely include a magic pony.

  8. LaMont says:

    I stick by my position – Sometimes you just have to tell little children NO! When its all said and done, the masses will come to realize why and understand the true reasoning behind the President’s position. No doubt it will get ugly but no one wants to set the bad precedent that negotiation under extortion or hostage taking can somehow be rewarded. Pass the temporary bills if you want. As you have already eluded to, this will mean nothing when it comes to negotiating with the tea party. I think President Obama realizes this per his experience with Boehner in the past. What true incentive does he have, other than “optics”, to play this type of game with the GOP? Optics alone is not enough!

  9. An Interested Party says:

    Obama And Boehner Can Negotiate, If They Really Want To

    Oh absolutely they can negotiate, as soon as Republicans stop trying to practice extortion…

  10. humanoid.panda says:

    Beyond the idiotic pretense that there is a democratic “non-compromise” camp that’s anywhere near the consensus on non-compromise on the republic side, what is exactly Fournier’s endgame? Let’s say a three month extension of the debt ceiling is passed, with stipulation that sides must compromise. Obama offers mix of revenues and cuts. GOP insists on cuts only. Negotiations fail, and Obama has now to decide whether to fold or risk default. In other words, we have returned to the starting point, with the added benefit of three more months of economic uncertainty AND increasing confidence on the republican side that Obama will fold in the end. No, Obama will have to be as big of an idiot as Fournier is pretending to be to agree to link any budgetary negotiations to the debt ceiling. This baby must be drowned.

  11. legion says:

    Well, there are lots of informal polls & off-the-record quotes suggesting that there are enough Repubs willing to go along with a ‘clean CR’ to make it viable. The question is – are those things correct, or are these the same ‘ghost voters’ who swore they’d stand by King when he tried to make a stand? If the votes are really there, then it’s just a matter of Boehner getting to look like a ‘real leader’ one more time for the red-meat crowd; if not, then there is absolutely nothing Boehner has to negotiate with, and no reason for Obama or Harry Reid to give him the time of day…

  12. michael reynolds says:

    I’d be thrilled to have a Grand Bargain that touched on entitlements and tax reform. Would the Tea Party? No. Because this has nothing to do with health care or spending or entitlements or taxes. They are out to remove that negro from the White House and nothing less will satisfy them.

    Which still leaves us with Boehner needing the balls to stand up and be the Speaker of the House and not the whimpering butt boy of the Tea Party. In other words, right where we are now.

  13. john personna says:

    @Rob in CT:

    It is interesting that for all their squawking about parkgazi and wanting the moon, the Teas have not really claimed that the “clean CR” is not clean, or that it feathers Obama’s nest in any way.

    It is just a continuation of current spending, including the sequester.

    It makes the sequester a new normal, which should be a big deal to small-government types.

  14. Moosebreath says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    I was with you until the second half of this sentence:

    “In other words, we have returned to the starting point, with the added benefit of three more months of economic uncertainty AND increasing confidence on the republican side that Obama will fold in the end.”

    We also will be 3 months further along in the recovery, and 3 months closer to the mid-term elections. Also, I am not sure why you think there will be increasing confidence on the Republican side that Obama will fold, if we have gone that far down the road and he did not (in fact, it would surprise me if there were a significant group of Republicans already surprised Obama has not folded who regret going down this road and who may be willing to avoid it next time). Please explain.

  15. humanoid.panda says:

    Additionally, i have to say that Fournier, and, I guess Doug, are trying to do something that is in my opinion, dishonorable. They both want use republican hostage-taking they both denounce to get something they want: entitlement cuts and a tax reform that will “broaden the base” or, in other words, make the tax structure less progressive. Say what you say about the tea partiers, they are willing to take the reputational hits to get what they want. The VSPs, on the other hand, want to use the tea partiers’ dirty hands to keep themselves clean.

  16. An Interested Party says:

    Which still leaves us with Boehner needing the balls to stand up and be the Speaker of the House and not the whimpering butt boy of the Tea Party.

    Perhaps he could borrow a pair from Nancy Pelosi…

  17. Rob in CT says:

    I mean, hey, there are lots of things I could do, if I want to. Many of them are bad ideas, though.

  18. Jeremy R says:

    @Moosebreath:

    In effect, what Fournier is proposing is that the parties agree to an X month clean CR and an equal length extension of the debt ceiling, while the parties negotiate a grand bargain.

    I think Obama would say that this proposal is consistent with his statements that we can negotiate such things so long as they are not being done with a gun to his head.

    Yup, the WH indicated today they’d support such a measure. Similarly, the original Senate “Clean CR” was the same duration.

  19. humanoid.panda says:

    @Moosebreath: Regarding the recovery, I think that a short debt ceiling extension to create negotiations everyone knows will end in nothing will not do much to alleviate the collapse in economic confidence that had already started. Regarding the midterm elections, the biggest problems we face is that there are so many folks on the republican sidewho just know they wil get reelected and don’t mind blowing up the economy, while there are several red state dems in the senate that might get jittery as we get closer to 2014, so at best, 3 months’ delay doesn’t get Obama much of anything, and at worst, makes things worst, on the midterms front. Regarding confidence: Obama had stated, repeatedly, that he will not negotiate anything as long the debt ceiling raise is contingent on the results of the negotiation. By going back on this now, he gravely injures his credibility.

  20. humanoid.panda says:

    @humanoid.panda: This is not to say that Obama should refuse a short term string free debt ceiling extension, but to say that Obama must stipulate the raising debt ceiling will not be part of any post-raise negotiation.

  21. Console says:

    It bears repeating. Boehner can’t deliver the votes for a grand bargain in the first place so he can’t be negotiated with.

  22. Facebones says:

    Here’s the thing about compromise: The Democrats already have. Steve Benen had a nice summary of the proposal Dems are offering:

    Repubs get:
    The spending levels they want.
    The opportunity to still create a debt ceiling crisis.
    The chance for another shut down.

    Dems get:
    Nothing.

    But that’s not good enough! Nothing short of Obama resigning and abolishing the ACA will be good enough for the Tea party.

    Republicans have been planning a shutdown for months. They don’t get to pretend that mean ol’ Obama wouldn’t negotiate.

  23. Jeremy R says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    The reason Boehner got laughed at is that he can’t and won’t deliver GOP votes for whatever deal he would negotiate.

    Beyond that what Bohner was calling a “Grand Bargain”, for the sake of media buy-in, was actually nothing of the sort. Robert Costa over at NRO described the broad outlines, and it was just the GOP policy wishlist all over again, rebranded:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/360234/boehner-gop-grand-bargain-works-robert-costa

    And during Wednesday huddles, Ryan, Camp, and other House Republicans spoke openly about what kind of concessions they could potentially win from Democrats. …

    Per sources, entitlement reforms, such as chained CPI, an elimination of the medical-device tax, and delays to parts of Obamacare are all on the table as trades for delaying aspects of sequestration and extending the debt limit. Camp, especially, is pushing to have a tax-reform framework included.

    So this “Grand Bargain” consists of the GOP getting “chained CPI, an elimination of the medical-device tax, and delays to parts of Obamacare” plus Romney/Ryan-style tax reform in exchange for “delaying aspects of sequestration and extending the debt limit.” Anyone who thinks this could possibly fly is just grasping at any straw to paint the GOP as serious/responsible actors.

  24. Medusa says:

    “They” need to want to negotiate? The only “they” involved who have (adamantly) refused to negotiate would be the Obama-Reid kabuki theater troupe.

  25. john personna says:

    @Medusa:

    So, as I’ve said in other threads, there is a simple way to see if you are actually willing to negotiate with Obama and Reid.

    What will you give them? How will you advance the progressive cause?

    Because as we’ve noted, the “clean CR” has nothing for them, no sweeteners. It is simply a continuation of government, with no change favoring one party or the other. It even, as we’ve noted, uses Republican numbers for what constitutes the status quo. It drops a few billion from Democratic estimates.

    So what will you give them?

  26. James Pearce says:

    The House speaker reportedly raised the idea of a so-called grand bargain at a White House meeting last week, and got laughed at. That is the exact wrong response.

    Hurt feelings aside, no one believes Boehner is capable of delivering the votes on a “grand bargain.” That’s why they laughed in his face.

    The political reality is that the Republicans will need to be the ones to make concessions. If they want to cut spending, they can pass a clean bill now and spend the next year coming up with legislation that cuts spending just in time for the 2014 midterms. They know that A) they can’t come together on a bill they themselves agree on and B) if they did, it would not be a bill that would attract much Democratic support or the signature of a Democratic president.

    Once you take a hardline like this, it’s foolish to expect compromises. That’s why Republicans don’t compromise. They wish to prevail, not to compromise. And that’s why they must be defeated on this one.

  27. Ben says:

    For there to be a negotiation, both sides have to get something out of it. What are the Republicans willing to offer the Democrats? I still haven’t heard a single thing. The Democrats have already ceded spending to post-sequester levels. That is a win for Republicans already, and they haven’t given up anything.

  28. David M says:

    I wrote that both the White House and the GOP House had incentive to strike a deal that would both raise taxes and trim entitlement spending.

    Fournier is should not be reporting on politics if he can write that sentence and be serious. Since when is the GOP going to do anything that raises revenue, let alone actually raising taxes? Their stated position is that not even tax loopholes can be closed without cutting taxes somewhere else so that revenue does not increase.

  29. Medusa says:

    @ Facebones

    Republicans have been planning a shutdown for months. They don’t get to pretend that mean ol’ Obama wouldn’t negotiate.

    Proof, please? ‘Cause I can list about 7 different funding bills passed by the House and offered to the Senate that don’t even mention ObamaCare. Including one to ensure that a possible default on our debt is taken permanently off the table as a possibility.

    Now, if you want claim that the evil-genius Republicans knew that Obama would do his normal foot-stomping temper tantrum when opposed – and therefore “pushed” him into a shutdown by not caving to his refusal to negotiate – then you might have a little traction.

  30. john personna says:

    @Ben:

    The only single thing Republicans offer Democrats is an end to shutdown, and avoidance of default.

  31. David M says:
  32. john personna says:

    @Medusa:

    Those fragmentary spending bills were a transparent way to get back to “everything but Obamacare.”

    Pardon us for not being stupid.

  33. Moosebreath says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    I think we are saying something pretty similar, although I think 3 months of kicking the can down the road will enable everyone to get through a normal holiday shopping season (with the good resulting effects on the economy).

  34. Jeremy R says:

    In any case, it’s going to have to be a “clean” CR & debt ceiling vote carried by Dems and the handful of responsible republicans left, simply because the powers that be will never allow the vast majority of the House GOP to let their White Whale (the ACA) go:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/us/a-federal-budget-crisis-months-in-the-planning.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&hp

    Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.

    It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

    Last week the country witnessed the fallout from that strategy: a standoff that has shuttered much of the federal bureaucracy and unsettled the nation.

    A defunding “tool kit” created in early September included talking points for the question, “What happens when you shut down the government and you are blamed for it?” The suggested answer was the one House Republicans give today: “We are simply calling to fund the entire government except for the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.”

    The billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, have been deeply involved with financing the overall effort. A group linked to the Kochs, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, disbursed more than $200 million last year to nonprofit organizations involved in the fight.

  35. Medusa says:

    @john personna:

    So, as I’ve said in other threads, there is a simple way to see if you are actually willing to negotiate with Obama and Reid.

    What will you give them? How will you advance the progressive cause?

    The nature of negotiation is that each side works toward a compromise. Just because you feel that the Republican’s initial position was unreasonable (i.e. defunding ObamaCare) doesn’t mean that you can make an honest claim they haven’t tried to compromise by reducing that request down at least three times. The final offer was to simply delay the individual mandate for a year – something that Obama already modified (extra-legally) for corporations.

    And Obama refused. The message there from Reid and Obama is that “It’s OK for me to unilaterally change this “law of the land” as many times as I choose, but don’t you dare suggest doing it, because that’s unacceptable.”

    Ridiculous.

  36. rudderpedals says:

    Fournier’s concern trolling. GoAT. Wasn’t Fournier fishing for a job with the McCain campaign while employed as DC bureau chief for a well known wire service?

  37. Rob in CT says:

    @Medusa:

    We can see that you failed to answer the question (or rather that your answer is “nothing”).

  38. john personna says:

    @Medusa:

    Every negotiation is shaped by a starting position.

    You foolishly think that because the “[clean] CR” was Obama-Reid’s way to solve shutdown and a national crisis, it must favor them, and so they can move off it.

    Of course, if they didn’t feather their own [nest] in the “clean CR” they have no reason to do that.

    If you want to “negotiate” from the neutral proposal, and add things you like, then so should they.

    How about some more jobs spending? How about a reduction in Navy ships?

  39. al-Ameda says:

    @Medusa:

    Now, if you want claim that the evil-genius Republicans knew that Obama would do his normal foot-stomping temper tantrum when opposed – and therefore “pushed” him into a shutdown by not caving to his refusal to negotiate – then you might have a little traction.

    Obama threw no temper tantrum, he merely observes and acknowledges the obvious: that House Republican leadership, and probably John Boehner also, consider defunding ACA as their compromise position.

  40. David M says:

    @Medusa:

    Do ‘X’ or we’ll shut down the government isn’t a negotiation, no matter what ‘X’ is. It’s extortion.

  41. Rob in CT says:

    How about a public option added to the ACA? 😉

    How about tax reform along liberal lines, instead of what the GOP means when they say tax reform?

    And don’t forget, I want my magic pony too, Medusa. Hey, why aren’t you compromising with me?

  42. gVOR08 says:

    @Medusa: Did you see in their offer any guarantee that this would be the last time they ask for delay? Can you think of any way they can guarantee no future congress will ask for delay? So we’re not really talking delay, are we? We’re talking about killing it one year at a time.

  43. michael reynolds says:

    @Medusa:

    Obamacare is the law of the land. What’s next with you people? Shall we re-negotiate the Civil Rights Act? How about the Social Security Act? Shall we just re-negotiate the entirety of American law?

    Your party are behaving like thugs. Your party is attacking the foundation of our system. And the reason? Is it because of the deficit which is falling faster than ever before? No. It’s because you cannot accept that Barack Obama is president of the United States. And we do not re-negotiate elections.

  44. Ron Beasley says:

    @michael reynolds: Boehner is not really a leader, The Speaker of the House – he only plays one on TV. There is no need to bargain with him because he doesn’t have the power to deliver on any bargains that he agrees to.

  45. Rob in CT says:

    This is fun!

    How about a carbon tax?

    How about doing away with the debt ceiling entirely?

    How about an agreement to confirm all outstanding nominees for administrative and judicial positions?

    No? You uncompromising lout! How dare you?

  46. David M says:

    How about increasing the FICA cap?

    Maybe repealing the carried interest exemption?

    Requiring background checks for all firearms purchases?

    Immigration reform?

  47. Pete S says:

    The Democrats already negotiated. They passed a CR in the Senate for the Republicans’ desired budget number, which Boener promised he could get passed in the House. Then the Republicans reneged and started adding conditions to pass the CR they had already agreed to. Anyone complaining that the Demcrats aren’t negotiating needs to re-phrase their claim to a refusal to negotiate again.
    Even if it were good policy to negotiate with hostage takers what reasonable person at this point would expect the Republicans to even hold up their end of any agreement?

  48. Medusa says:

    @David M

    I’ll outsource that to Steven L. Taylor

    With all due respect to Mr. Taylor, his statement of proof and quote of Freedom Works is self-evidently not proof at all. Republicans took the defund demand off the table a week ago, before the shutdown. The last offer was to delay the individual mandate for a year.

    The shutdown happened because of Obama’s ego and Reid’s intransigence. And, incidentally, now that this is not playing well with the polls, notice how Obama voted “present” today on the whole issue, stating that Reid was the one responsible for the strategy from the left.

    This, in political terms, is known as “throwing someone under the bus.” Not looking so good at the moment for the home team, and Obama’s advisors know it.

  49. LaMont says:

    @Medusa:

    Any changes the President made was well within his powers to do so. Any changes the tea party is trying to make comes at the risk of undermining the entire democratic process. Why can’t you get this?

  50. LaMont says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Yes indeed. Boehner doesn’t even have the power to deliver on his own proposals!

    Exhibit Plan B

  51. john personna says:

    @Medusa:

    You can show an extremist reality, but you can’t make him grok.

  52. al-Ameda says:

    @Medusa:

    This, in political terms, is known as “throwing someone under the bus.” Not looking so good at the moment for the home team, and Obama’s advisors know it.

    Do you really think the Republicans are poised to claim victory once they leverage their shutdown into a default?

  53. Medusa says:

    @Michael reynolds:

    Obamacare is the law of the land. What’s next with you people?

    So’s the debt ceiling , Skippy. You want to join Republicans in defending the fact that the law should be followed there, too? Don’t have any problem not following the law if the land on that one, I’ll bet. And, just in case, please spare me any nonsense about how the US will default if we don’t raise the debt ceiling; we can easily service all of our debts without raising the debt ceiling, and the Senate has refused to vote on a bill that would ensure exactly that.

  54. LaMont says:

    @Medusa:

    Republicans took the defund demand off the table a week ago, before the shutdown.

    Oh my! Well I guess sense they took it off the table that settles it! Something tells me that you couldn’t even write that with a straight face.

  55. Rob in CT says:

    What are the Republicans giving the Democrats, Medusa, in this “compromise?”

    The Republicans made demands. They keep shifting those demands, in part because when they first released them the list was so absurd anyone – even the average joe who doesn’t pay attention – knew they were trying to pull a fast one. At no point have the Republicans actually offered the Dems something they want, unless you construe “keeping the federal government open, and paying its bills” to be an exclusively Democratic priority.

  56. Woody says:

    Jonathan Bernstein has a nice riposte to this.

    In April, I wrote that both the White House and the GOP House had incentive to strike a deal that would both raise taxes and trim entitlement spending. The story traced the outlines of such a deal, but the moment was lost.

    If Ron Fournier actually wrote this yesterday, he should immediately seek medical attention. The thought of today’s GOP raising taxes – on John Boehner’s say – is truly and utterly preposterous, no matter how reasonable it may sound to pundits.

    Again, this is an intraparty breakdown that can, at this point, only be solved by those within the party. I know it is difficult for party loyalists to admit that their party has cracked up, but until the “moderates” of the GOP actually stop the radicals of the GOP, the Nation’s economic health is at serious risk.

    The effects of a debt default will result in real suffering to a lot of real people.

  57. C. Clavin says:

    “…The shutdown happened because of Obama’s ego and Reid’s intransigence…”

    What parallel universe do you live in? Is it nice there? No climate change? Iraq actually had WMD? Reagan didn’t raise taxes? 9.11 didn’t happen on Bush’s watch? Tax cuts pay for themselves? Supply-side economics actually works? Cheney didn’t out a covert spy? Life begins at conception?
    Just wondering…

  58. David M says:

    @Medusa:

    They are still asking for something and threatening to shut down the government if they don’t get their way.

  59. Medusa says:

    @john persona

    @Medusa:

    You can show an extremist reality, but you can’t make him grok.

    And now we have the liberal’s usual retreat into “non-speak” because of an inability to face those annoying little things called facts.

    I’m impressed. You lasted almost two entire posts before you descended into “you’re so stupid that I don’t even need to respond.”

    To paraphrase the words of Wesley in the Princess Bride, ” Your intellect is truly astounding…”

  60. Rob in CT says:

    Also, too: explain how refusing to pay our bills is responsible. If the debt ceiling is not raised, we will stiff somebody, whether it’s bondholders, social security recipients, contractors, medicare providers… somebody doesn’t get paid.

    If it’s no big deal, by the way, why should the Democrats cave?

  61. john personna says:

    @Medusa:

    Obamacare is the law of the land. What’s next with you people?

    So’s the debt ceiling , Skippy.

    That is not remotely sane. The debt ceiling has a pattern of use. Since 1960, Congress has raised the ceiling 78 times.

    But pretend it is something other than an accounts control number because … crazy party.

  62. john personna says:

    @Medusa:

    And now we have the liberal’s usual retreat into “non-speak” because of an inability to face those annoying little things called facts.

    I was actually a life long Republican, and now an independent.

    Why did I leave? I could not in conscience support the crazy party, or the stupid party, or the anti-science party, or the anti-intellectual party.

    Take your pick.

  63. Medusa says:

    @Lamont

    @Medusa:

    Any changes the President made was well within his powers to do so.

    You may want to study up a bit on the “Separation of Powers” parts of the Constitution before you go out and make yourself look bad. I’m just sayin’ …

  64. David M says:

    @Medusa:

    What are the GOP offering to the Dems? Short question, should be easy to answer. In exchange for the Dems delaying the mandate, the GOP are going to …. ?

  65. Medusa says:

    @john persona

    Take your pick.

    How about none of the above? Your issues are your issues. Your prejudices against people that don’t share your worldview have nothing to do with what conservatives stand for. Your interpretation of what conservatives – or the Republican party- stand for is fine, just don’t expect thinking people to necessarily agree with you.

  66. john personna says:

    It is really the most pathetic form of argumentation ever to make some completely stupid claim or offer some completely stupid strategy, and then say “you must respect my position just as much as a smart one.”

    That is anti-intellectualism, in a nutshell.

  67. David M says:

    @Medusa:

    Obamacare is the law of the land. What’s next with you people?

    So’s the debt ceiling , Skippy.

    And are the Dems demanding the debt ceiling be raised in exchange for nothing? And then shutting down the government when they didn’t get their way?

  68. pylon says:

    The Dems already compromised. The bill they propose contains the numebrs the Repubs demanded already.

  69. Rob in CT says:

    Harry Reid’s take on things:

    ESQ: Are you surprised by Speaker Boehner?

    HR: Yes. Here’s one reason I’m surprised. What we voted on and got out of the Senate is what he told me he wanted me to do! It was hard for me to do that because it was $70 billion less than what our budget was, but we agreed to do that, because he said he needed that to pass a clean CR [continuing resolution]. And now he can’t deliver on something he gave me his word that he would do.

    ESQ: When was that, senator?

    HR: The last conversation was September 9 or 10. It was a process that had taken place over quite a bit of time, but culminated over those two days in September.

    Silly rabbit, you should have known Lucy was going to pull the football away again…

  70. Medusa says:

    @john persona

    That is not remotely sane. The debt ceiling has a pattern of use. Since 1960, Congress has raised the ceiling 78 times.

    And your point is? The debt ceiling is the law of the land and it is modified by negotiated agreement.

    Just as ObamaCare can be modified by negotiated agreement. Even though it’s, you know, the “law of the land” and stuff.

  71. David M says:

    @Rob in CT:

    ” I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further. ”

    I don’t recall thinking of that as a negotiation.

  72. David M says:

    @Medusa:

    What are the GOP offering to the Dems? Seriously, that’s the only relevant question here.

  73. john personna says:

    @Medusa:

    If you were smart you’d know we already covered this.

    Negotiation gives something to both sides.

  74. Steve V says:

    The Republican base, as reflected by talk radio, believes that Obama is an existential threat to the country and that virtually everything he does is for the purpose of wrecking it. When you view your political adversary in such apocalyptic terms, you can’t just “make a deal” with him; you have to defeat him. Every Republican representative who votes in favor of a deal with Obama that isn’t a “victory” over him needs to worry about getting primaried. Indeed, even if the parties get into serious negotiations and the outlines of a deal start leaking out, the base will view anything Obama might go along with as inherently un-American. So, while it’s all nice to talk about deals to end this standoff, they will require a lot of selling to the base. I haven’t heard anything like that on talk radio recently; all I’ve heard is the talkers urging more and more that the House stiffen its spine. There’s nothing Boehner can offer right now.

  75. Rafer Janders says:

    While there is some value in both these points, National Journal’s Ron Fournier argues that

    Stop right there.

  76. Rafer Janders says:

    Fournier has it largely correct here, I think.

    Nope, too late. Should have stopped when I told you to.

  77. Ben says:

    What are the GOP offering to the Dems? Short question, should be easy to answer. In exchange for the Dems delaying the mandate, the GOP are going to …. ?

    Medusa, you still haven’t answered this question. What are the Republicans offering to the Democrats in exchange for the delaying of Obamacare?

    And how can this Congress enforce an agreement on the next Congress not to simply delay it again, and again, and again?

  78. john personna says:

    @Steve V:

    I’ve thought something similar. If you are really around the bend, and think that Obama has already implemented “teh socialism” then you really desperately need to roll it back.

    And so you think you are doing Obama some big favor when you give him nothing new, but just let him keep some of teh socialism.

  79. Medusa says:

    @john persona

    It is really the most pathetic form … blah, blah, blah

    That is anti-intellectualism, in a nutshell.

    Fine, Einstein. Answer me these questions three and then do the math.

    Which side has said that they refuse to negotiate, Dems or Repubs?

    Which side has put passed bills to fund government programs during the “shutdown”, Dems or Repubs?

    And finally, which side has passed a bill to make sure that – no matter what issues both sides have – the government will absolutely always pay its debts, Dems or Repubs?

    Hint > Solution: Add up all answers to the above questions. Whichever side has more points is the side that is trying to make sure that government functions and our creditors are assured. The other side is not.

    Pretty simple, unless you’re one of those real “intellectuals.”

  80. Medusa says:

    Ta Ta, ladies…

  81. David M says:

    @Medusa:

    Negotiate. You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

  82. David M says:

    @Medusa:

    Ta Ta, ladies…

    Oh FFS, another troll leaving rather than answer what the GOP is offering as part of their “negotiation”? I’d have more respect for them if they’d at least admit they are either offering nothing or that reopening the government is a concession.

  83. Ben says:

    @Medusa:

    That was a fine jig you just danced. So in other words, you’re not going to answer the extremely simple and straight-forward question that everyone is asking you. OK, noted.

  84. john personna says:

    @Medusa:

    That was a dumb argument because Obama offered something really good, really fair, as “this is my last offer.”

    Now you say “it’s his ‘last offer,’ he won’t negotiate.”

    Well, if it was a bad offer, or an unfair one, you might have a point. But it is not, you do not.

    If you want to OPEN negotiations from there, offer him something more than was in his ‘last offer.’

  85. michael reynolds says:

    Medusa has run off to see whether he/she can glean some answers from Hannity and Limbaugh. Spoiler alert: she can’t.

  86. al-Ameda says:

    @Medusa:

    Ta Ta, ladies…

    See you at your Default Party.

  87. C. Clavin says:

    Medusa sounds a lot like Jan…maybe…SHE’s BAAAAAACK!!!!!!!

  88. David M says:

    @Medusa:

    Which side has said that they refuse to negotiate, Dems or Repubs?

    The Democrats have offered to negotiate the entire budget for the last several months and the GOP have refused to enter negotiations.

    Which side has put passed bills to fund government programs during the “shutdown”, Dems or Repubs?

    The Senate Democrats have passed a bill to fund the government at GOP levels while working out the entire FY2014 budget.

    And finally, which side has passed a bill to make sure that – no matter what issues both sides have – the government will absolutely always pay its debts, Dems or Repubs?

    The Democrats support raising the debt ceiling, while the GOP is threatening to not raise it unless the ransom is paid. Raising the debt ceiling is the only way to avoid defaulting.

    I hope that cleared things up for you.

  89. Neil Hudelson says:

    Let me see if I can understand Medusa’s argument in a nutshell.

    We CAN play politics with the law of the land and try to defund Obamacare. It’s not nuts. How do I know? The debt ceiling is also the law of the land, and we are also playing politics with it. See?

    Democrats: “You can’t set this building on fire.”
    Republicans: “I can too, and as proof I will set this other building on fire.”

    It’s as good of an argument as the Bible is literally true because the Bible says it is literally true.

  90. wr says:

    @Medusa: “So’s the debt ceiling , Skippy. ”

    I was wondering why we were lucky enough not to have Jenos posting on this subject. Oh, well…

  91. anjin-san says:

    @ wr

    bingo.

  92. michael reynolds says:

    @wr:
    Ahhhh.

  93. Amos Jones says:

    If only Boehner was less in thrall to the wing nuts of his party, he might be able to negotiate a face saving settlement. Alas, he’s gone over to Tea Bagger Bizarro World and nothing good can come of that.

  94. anjin-san says:

    @ wr

    “Skippy” is kind of a tell, Jenos tends to plagiarize my lines (and those of others, no doubt) – just like a hack comic, stealing other peoples material.

  95. Pharoah Narim says:

    Hey I respect people’s attempt to reason with bungholes like Medusa but its all for naught. I tell ya, the rural south is getting EXACTLY what it wants. Its win win…the Evil Evil Gov’t is shut down….GOOD! If the Gov’t Defaults and the Fed Government is weakened and/or shrinks from increased borrowing costs…..GOOD! Social programs (that I don’t rely on) dry up….GOOD! I repeat… THERE IS NO BAD OUTCOME FROM THIS FOR THEM!!!!!!

    When you have an adversary such as this….it is a waste of time negotiating…you basically have to steamroll them, which in this case means letting the country and their constituency experience reality. The Tea Party Congressman, Radio hosts, and Fox, are selling to these people that Jesus will come on such and such date…. if only we’re allowed to gather on the mountaintop to await Him. Well, Dammit…let’s go to the mountaintop and wait.. Reality is the only antedote to foolishness.

  96. Ken says:

    @john personna:

    Isaac Asimov summed it up rather nicely:

    “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”