U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, June 29, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)
It looks like we’re heading for an ugly end game for the debt ceiling confrontation. Ezra Klein explains:
The best advice I’ve gotten for assessing the debt-ceiling negotiations was to “watch for the day when the White House goes public.” As long as the Obama administration was refusing to attack Republicans publicly, my source said, they believed they could cut a deal. And that held true. They were quiet when the negotiations were going on. They were restrained after Eric Cantor and Jon Kyl walked out last week. Press Secretary Jay Carney simply said, “We are confident that we can continue to seek common ground and that we will achieve a balanced approach to deficit reduction.” But today they went public. The negotiations have failed.
“The primary goal of President Obama’s presser, which just wrapped up, was obvious,” writes Greg Sargent. “He was clearly out to pick a major public fight with Republicans over tax cuts for the rich.” That’s exactly right. But he didn’t want this fight. He wanted a deal. And he wasn’t able to get one that the White House considered even minimally acceptable. After putting more than $2 trillion of spending cuts on the table, they weren’t even able to get $400 billion — about a sixth of the total — in tax increases.
Klein goes on to explain that things will likely get ugly. Both sides are digging in their heals, and only a crisis or market meltdown will get them to move. Perhaps something else will change the dynamic, like the proposal coming from Kent Conrad and the Senate Democrats, but that seems unlikely.
As Klein explained, Obama has been quiet because he was hoping for a deal. Now that the Republicans want a fight, they are going to get one. Nobody likes taxes, but the notion that we can’t have any new revenues, including closing corporate tax breaks, when we’re facing a $15 trillion debt is totally absurd. The polls are in Obama’s favor when it comes to increasing taxes on the wealthy.
That said, the GOP is currently run by the extremists in the Tea Party who won’t compromise on anything. It’s probably going to get ugly . . .
Everyone seems to have an opinion about President Obama’s press conference yesterday. It depends of course, on how one views his tax cut deal. I think he made the best possible deal, and he left enough time for a real push for START and DADT.
Liberals are furious, and we’re getting the usual hysteria from many on the left. The usual suspects like Olbermann, Maddow and Schultz funneled the anger as usual, though others like Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell argued that the President struck a good deal.
I liked seeing Obama take on his critics, particularly those who consistently let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Here are some of the highlights:
So this notion that somehow we are willing to compromise too much reminds me of the debate that we had during health care. This is the public option debate all over again. So I pass a signature piece of legislation where we finally get health care for all Americans, something that Democrats had been fighting for, for a hundred years – but because there was a provision in there that they didn’t get, that would have affected maybe a couple million people, even though we got health insurance for 30 million people, and the potential for lower premiums for a hundred million people, that somehow that was a sign of weakness and compromise.
Now, if that’s the standard by which we are measuring success or core principles, then let’s face it, we will never get anything done. People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position, and no victories for the American people. And we will be able to feel good about ourselves, and sanctimonious about how pure our intentions are and how tough we are. And in the meantime the American people are still seeing themselves not able to get health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, or not being able to pay their bills because their unemployment insurance ran out. That can’t be the measure of how we think about our public service. That can’t be the measure of what it means to be a Democrat.
“This country was founded on compromise. I couldn’t go through the front door of this country’s founding,” he later added. “And you know, if we were really thinking about ideal positions, we wouldn’t have a Union.
Towards the end, he declared: “I don’t think there’s a single Democrat out there, who if they looked at where we started when I came into office and look at where we are now, would say that somehow we have not moved in the direction that I promised. Take a tally, look at what I promised during the campaign. There’s not a single thing that I said that I would do that I have not either done or tried to do. And if I have not gotten it done yet, I’m still trying to do it.”
The left needs a wake-up call. Of course we can have heated debate, but name-calling and silly calls for a primary challenge are ridiculous.
Liberals are attacking President Obama on many fronts regarding the tax cut deal. They don’t like the deal itself, and many are also alleging that it’s stupid politics – he should have held out for a better deal.
Andrew Sullivan has a different take, explaining how a fight with his liberal critics actually helps him. Also, the deal itself will likely stimulate the economy, and a better economy helps his re-election prospects. I agree with Andrew.
With the opening statements from Senator Leahy and Senator Sessions, we might be looking at an ugly fight in the confirmation hearings of Judge Sotomayor. Leahy basically called out those who are trying to twist her words, and Sessions shot right back, basically alleging in his opening remarks that Sotomayor is not an impartial judge.
Given the colorful history of Senator Sessions, I’m wondering how many Republicans and conservatives will cringe when hearing some of his statements.
Of course, it’s up to Sotomayor to explain her philosophy, but Sessions seems to be itching for a fight, regardless of what she might say in these hearings.