He gets this one exactly right…
The Democrats control the Senate, which means Obama more or less controls the Senate. The Senate hasn’t passed a budget in more than two years. And this hasn’t particularly affected the president – after all, his last attempt at a budget was so unserious that it precipitated CBO chief Doug Elmendorf’s legendary quote that “We don’t estimate speeches.”
And this is the guy who shows up to tell the Republicans to eat their peas? Riiight.
It’s an interesting question, but one wonders how much of the current impasse has been exacerbated by the disrespectful, unserious and petulant manner Obama constantly exhibits in public. If you had to negotiate with a guy like this and he treated you this way, you’d likely do everything possible in an effort to avoid doing a deal with him. Would you buy a car from him? Of course not. Would you take a loan from him, or give him one? No.
And yet John Boehner is put in this position – it’s his fault and that of his caucus that (1) he won’t agree to a debt ceiling hike that 69 percent of the public oppose without (2) leading virtually every one of his Republican colleagues to violate a pledge to raise taxes so that Obama can get a debt ceiling hike 69 percent of the public doesn’t want.
Because Boehner rightly recognizes this as an uncommonly shitty deal, he and his caucus are “intransigent.” And what passes for an elite media within (and without) the Beltway – Krauthammer not included, naturally – buys into that narrative with a straight face. Obama can essentially call the American people a bunch of uninformed dupes who don’t care about their country in addressing those poll results, and there’s no outrage or even opprobrium.
Under such circumstances, you really can’t describe how poisonous Washington culture has become – or how unfit that city is to govern our lives. Obama might not have created the uselessness of the federal government, but he sure isn’t providing the leadership that would fix the problem.
And while Boehner has the responsibility to help reach an agreement of some kind, he and his team should stand firm against the posturing and mendacity of the farcical president with whom they’re forced to deal until Obama puts aside his gamesmanship. A grand bargain on Obama’s terms is far worse than a budget standoff, regardless of the hot air emanating from the president’s endless press conferences.
Boehner took a good step in that direction this morning when he said this debt ceiling business is Obama’s problem and demanded to see the president’s budget proposal. Watch the fallout from that statement as it hits today and tomorrow.