Has Pres. Obama become a savvy negotiator?
Ezra Klein on negotiations with congress over the fiscal cliff:
…Previously, Obama’s pattern had been to offer plans that roughly tracked where he thought the compromise should end up. The White House’s belief was that by being solicitous in their policy proposals, they would win goodwill on the other side, and even if they didn’t, the media would side with them, realizing they’d sought compromise and been rebuffed. They don’t believe that anymore.
Perhaps the key lesson the White House took from the last couple of years is this: Don’t negotiate with yourself. If Republicans want to cut Medicare, let them propose the cuts. If they want to raise revenue through tax reform, let them identify the deductions. If they want deeper cuts in discretionary spending, let them settle on a number. And, above all, if they don’t like the White House’s preferred policies, let them propose their own. That way, if the White House eventually does give in and agree to some of their demands, Republicans will feel like they got one over on the president. A compromise isn’t measured by what you offer, it’s measured by what the other side feels they made you concede.
Man, you sure hope so. The negotiating tactic in the first paragraph was what cost us the public option. Obama should’ve opened with singlepayer and made the public option the compromise position. Instead, he offered what he expected the end game to look like. You might as well sit down to a chess board, immediately set up an end game, yell, “Checkmate!” and ask, “Want to play again?” It doesn’t work that way.
Now, the President has Republicans on the spot. They’re demanding that Democrats “get serious” about entitlement cuts, but aren’t offering up any specifics of their own. Why? Because the public will hate any cuts. If Democrats propose them, then Democrats take the blame for them. And the President and his party aren’t falling for it.
You want cuts to Medicare? Fine. You step your shifty GOP ass up to the plate and name your cuts — and get your fingerprints all over them — or go back to the bench and shut up about it.
Stories to Watch: 10/9/11
It’s going to be pushing 80 around here today, so baking bread is out. I’ll make pitas, since I use a griddle for those. Now here’s the news…
Ezra Klein has a great piece up about the economic meltdown and everyone’s reaction to it. It’s hard to summarize other than to say it’s about an administration that inherited an economy that was completely FUBAR. It’s a long one, but worth it.
The 99-percenter movement is occupying the internet and the nation.
A writer for the rightwing American Spectator decides not to be a spectator, but to join in on the 99% movement in order “to mock and undermine” the protesters. Firedoglake calls Patrick Howley an “agent provocateur,” reminding me of another really stupid idea another really stupid wingnut once had. Bonus fun: Howley ridicules the bulk of the protesters for obeying the law, while he was the one with the guts to break it — by being the only one to succeed in trespassing at the Air and Space Museum. DC police, that’s Patrick Howley, Assistant Editor of The American Spectator, 1611 North Kent Street, Suite 901, Arlington, Virginia, 22209. He’s probably home today washing all the mace out of his clothes, but you can most likely arrest him in his office Monday. No need to thank me officers, just doing my duty as a citizen. If it’s possible to charge someone with being a smug little dickweed, go ahead and throw that in too.
Ron Paul supporters rig the Values Voters Summit straw poll and Ron wins. That means he’s totally going to be the president!!!
A rightwing pundit takes to Fox News to argue that there isn’t enough starvation in America. No, really.
Herman Cain really is an idiot.
Finally, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s pay cut scheme for government workers is typically Republican — i.e., bass-ackward, unfair, and easiest on the wealthy. The more you make, the smaller your pay cut. If you’re making $25,000 a year, you loose 15.8% of your income in benefits. If you make $125,000, your cut is about half that. These people are shameless.
Stories to Watch: 10/4/11
It’s cool enough now that I feel I can use the oven more, so I’m back to baking sourdough bread. I still don’t have it done as much as I do pitas and pancakes, though. I’ve been using a bread machine to knead it (you can’t bake it in there, though) and I’m thinking it doesn’t work the gluten well enough. The next time I try, I’ll do a windowpane test and, if it needs more work, do additional kneading myself. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board. Now here’s the news…
Ezra Klein has a great post up about Occupy Wall Street and the 99-percenters. TLDR; the movement matters and this blog helped convince him of that. “They’re small stories of people who played by the rules, did what they were told, and now have nothing to show for it,” he writes. “Or, worse, they have tens of thousands in debt to show for it.” Follow it, repost the photos if you’re on Tumblr, share them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+. etc. — just get them out there.
If you want a good place to check for Occupy Wall Street news, Greg Mitchell would be a fine choice.
The protests have the corporate world worried. Rightwing media begins its attack, while at least one suit wonders, “Is this going to turn into a personal safety problem?”
Is it over for The Simpsons?
Now that Christie’s out, the right is back to searching for a viable candidate. Fortunately for dems, they’re doing it wrong.
A GOP Rep. really puts Grover Norquist through the ringer.
Finally, a definition of tone-freakin’-deaf: while people mob Wall Street protesting — among other things — unfair banking practices, the Obama administration sides with debt collectors.
It’s not the arrests that convinced me that “Occupy Wall Street” was worth covering seriously. Nor was it their press strategy, which largely consisted of tweeting journalists to cover a small protest that couldn’t say what, exactly, it hoped to achieve. It was a Tumblr called, “We Are The 99 Percent,” and all it’s doing is posting grainy pictures of people holding handwritten signs telling their stories, one after the other…These are not rants against the system. They’re not anarchist manifestos. They’re not calls for a revolution. They’re small stories of people who played by the rules, did what they were told, and now have nothing to show for it. Or, worse, they have tens of thousands in debt to show for it.
Stories to Watch: 10/1/11
Super-short one today. I was using Firefox’s Beta 7 and that switched to Beta 8 recently. Beta 8 is awful, on my machine at least. Just terrible. So I’m switching back to FF 7 and out of beta for the time being. That’s today’s ‘puter project. Now here’s the news…
President Obama uses his weekly address to push congress to “get its act together and pass this jobs bill so I can sign it into law.” Clearly, he’s planning on the Truman strategy of running against a do-nothing congress.
In response, the GOP blames regulations for unemployment. Like the failed tax breaks, the argument here seems to be that if you do this one thing for businesses, they’ll go out and hire a bunch of people they don’t actually need. Supply and demand continues to be a completely foreign concept to the Republican Party, who seem to believe that the economy is struggling because rich people are sad.
Ezra Klein takes on the recent pundit-fad of saying that Chris Christie is too fat to be president. Good for him. I’ll take things a bit further by saying that the fad lets Christie wear the conservatives’ favorite crown — that of the victim. As a result, we’re all arguing about shit that doesn’t matter and ignoring the fact that Chris Christie is just awful. This actually works to the governor’s advantage. The more time the press squabbles over bullshit, the less real coverage Christie’s policies get. Pundits stop it. Just stop.
Finally, President Obama pulls down more that $55 million in the third quarter.
Stories to Watch: 7/11/11
It’s so hot out today that if you stick an unlit cigarette out the window, it’ll light right up. No foolin’. Now here’s the news…
Sam Stein reports that President Obama offered to raise the Medicare eligibility age in an attempt to reach an agreement with the GOP on the debt ceiling. This makes me think of a recent quoteby White House chief of staff William Daley regarding the president; “He’s not someone to walk away from a tough fight.”
I’d be a lot more impressed with that if Obama were more interesting in winning those tough fights than he obviously is in just ending them.
Ezra Klein offers three reasons why the recent debt negotiations broke down. The short version; Boehner is a powerless figurehead, the GOP doesn’t really give a crap about spending, and no one that matters is panicking yet.
Rupert Murdoch’s phone-hacking scandals seems to get worse by the day, if not the hour. Not only was he trying to get phone data of9/11 victims, but he was trying to get British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s data as well.
At this very moment, there isn’t a single word about the phone-hacking scandal on Fox News’ front page. Weird, huh?
A new poll has Michele Bachmann ever so slightly ahead of Mitt Romney in Iowa. Note of caution; the poll was no longer in the fieldwhen Shelly had her big “Yay for slavery!” moment.
We also learn that Bachmann is easily spooked.
Former Florida Rep and liberal firebrand Alan Grayson says he take a shot at elected office again.
Finally, a stupid Republican uses a stupid gun stupidly.
News Roundup for 7/7/11
-Headline of the Day-
“Why Inhofe is mad at the FAA.”
Short answer: because they expect pilots to be responsible and this is an attack on FREEDOOM!!!
See, last year Senator and Sky Hero Jim Inhofe was flying along, minding his own business, when he nearly killed some people —WHICH IS HIS RIGHT AS AN AMERICAN!!!
According to the report, “Inhofe saw a closed runway at his South Texas destination — it was marked with a giant X — but decided to land on it anyway. He touched down and then ‘sky hopped’ over six vehicles and personnel working on the runway, before landing for good. Inhofe, among other things, also didn’t feel the need to check the Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) indicating the runway closure prior to flying.” And why should he? Government notices are regulations, which are communism. The airport manager was appalled by Inhofe’s Wings of Freedom, saying he’d “never seen such a reckless disregard for human life” — presumably because of his communist bias.
Anyway, after having nearly killed several people, Sen. Inhofe found himself in the sights of BIG GOVERNMENT OPPRESSSION. In lieu of legal action — like attempted manslaughter — Inhofe wasFORCED BY GOVERNMENT GOONS to take a “program of remedial training” — because BIG GOVERNMENT REGULATORS don’t understand that it’s every American’s right to crash a plane anywhere they goddam well see fit.
So he’s pushing a “Pilot’s Bill of Rights” to protect FREEDOM LOVING KAMIKAZES from “agency overreach.”
“I was never fully appreciative of the feeling of desperation until it happened to me,” Sen. Inhofe says.
Good for you, Pilot Inhofe. We have to stop them now or the next thing you know, they’ll be curtailing our GOD-GIVEN RIGHT to drive drunk in the name of “public safety.”
Communists… (Political Animal)
-Cartoon time with Mark Fiore-
Hey kids, here’s a tale of magic and wishes and the wonderful power of corporate tax cuts! It’s the…
Click for animation
And the Tax Cut Fairies have an evil nemesis. His name: Reality! (MarkFiore.com)
“The budget deals of Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama, in one chart.”
Long story short; Reagan was a commie, Barack Obama is the best president Republicans ever had. (Ezra Klein)
Stories to Watch: 7/2/11
I had a good time in Milwaukee. It seemed it was a good day to get the hell out of Madison. When we left here, it was hot and muggy and just awful. But Summerfest is right by the lake, so there was a nice breeze and the humidity was barely noticeable. All in all, a good call. Now here’s the news…
At this point in time, Herman Cain is probably not measuring the drapes for the Oval Office. How fickle the ‘baggers are.
In his weekly address, President Obama says we can’t afford tax breaks for “millionaires and billionaires.”
Reports of hacker group LulzSec’s death seem to have been greatly exaggerated.
The Department of Justice just called the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. This is kind of a big deal.
Mittens backs off his bogus claim that Obama has made the economy worse since Bush. Of course, he lies as he does so; “I didn’t say that things are worse,” Romney claims. Oh, yes you did.
Finally, Ezra Klein points out that the deficit is a problem that, if ignored, really will go away. The fight isn’t about how to eliminate the deficit, the fight is over how to cushion the blow. “We don’t really have a deficit problem. We have a Congress problem,” he writes. “Congress pretends otherwise, because they don’t want to take the blame for the deficit-effects of the legislation they plan to vote for, but that’s the truth of it.”
Stories to Watch: 4/8/11
I made pancakes today. I’m guessing you didn’t. I win. Now here’s the news…
Cutting funding for Planned Parenthood is the most important thing in the world. So important, in fact, that the government must be shut down until Republicans get their way. You know what might be a good idea here? Including some women in the budget negotiations. Seems to me they might have some valuable insight into issues of women’s health services. Ezra Klein examines what it is that PP actually does and it turns out that it’s not really a lot of abortions.
On the bright side, the GOP has agreed not to shoot another hostage — the EPA.
Conservatives — and especially ‘baggers — are aghast as Shelly Bachmann gives up on the budget fight. This is being seen as a sign that a deal may be nearly hammered out — if Bachmann folded, it’s because someone told her to shut up and fold.
All of which is good news for John Boehner’s DC residence. Protesters have threatened to dump their garbage at his place, since a federal shutdown would interrupt the capital city’s trash pickup.
James Fallows — like myself and a lot of other people actually paying attention — is sick and tired of hearing how “brave” and “serious” Paul Ryan is for writing conservative economic-fantasy porn.
Statistical whiz Nate Silver says that the magically appearing 7,500 votes for incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser looksmore like incompetence than mischief (that’s a question I asked earlier today, BTW). Others aren’t so convinced of that. Either way, it strikes me that one way to really fire up people about recalls is to have something like this happen at this particular time. If things go poorly for the Wisconsin GOP in the near-future, the party should go looking for Kathy Nickolaus’s head.
Gabrielle Giffords plans to attend her husband’s shuttle launch on April 27.
Finally, a press conference by GOP women goes very, very badly.