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.
Thompson admits to lying about his Medicare plan.
U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson acknowledged Friday that he doesn’t know whether his latest plan to change Medicare will save recipients or the federal government any money.
Thompson, the Republican governor of Wisconsin from 1988 to 2001, outlined the plan before the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board: Allow those who are 50 by the year 2020 to either stay on Medicare or join the same health insurance plan that members of Congress and federal employees have.
Asked how much the plan would cost, Thompson initially said the Congressional Budget Office had evaluated his plan and “it has been projected that it would save money.” He later acknowledged that the nonpartisan CBO had not evaluated the plan.
“I have not scored it,” Thompson said, adding that since he is not in office, “I have no ability to score it.”
Worse, had he had that ability, things wouldn’t have turned out well for him. According to the report, a study was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That study found that costs in a plan similar to Thompson’s “grew by an average of 7.1 percent per enrollee per year compared to a 5.8 percent average growth rate for traditional Medicare.”
“The organization reported that the data analysis and interviews with experts showed the federal employee plan ‘had not held down costs per enrollee as efficiently as Medicare during the past decade,’” WSJ reports. So not only didn’t the CBO score his plan, but if they had it probably would’ve shown it was all snake oil.
Still, this does establish Thompson as a mainstream Republican — in that if you ask him to prove something, he answers, “Sure! Here’s some numbers, fresh from being pulled straight out of my butt.”
The conventional wisdom on Obama’s recent surge is that it’s due largely to Mitt Romney’s 47% disaster, and there’s clearly something to this. If nothing else, it’s given Team Obama grist for an absolutely devastating ad.
"But it’s worth pointing out another dynamic that’s been overlooked here: The escalating disaster that is Paul Ryan…