Political Bargaining

Reacting to the Dem critiques of the GOP's madman bargaining on the debt ceiling, Atrios writes:

It is negotiating, just good negotiating (and, on the other side, bad negotiating). People and the press should highlight what Republican negotiating is so people can judge, but it's wrong to say it isn't negotiating. "Give me everything I want" is negotiating when it works.

It's also good negotiating when it ends up as "I got most of everything I want." Here's the thing - this negotiation goes back to last December, when the Bush tax cuts were set to expire. My contempt for The Deal is a tedious and repetitive matter of record. But it is worth remembering that many folks (Ezra Klein! cough!) were celebrating it as a bit of brilliant bargaining by Obama, who snookered the GOP into a 'big stimulus package.' Of course that was silly. The fact is the only goal for the GOP is this negotiation was the extension of the Bush tax cuts. They won what they wanted in December. After that, any cuts in the social safety net are gravy. 2 trillion dollars in such cuts is a ton of gravy. The GOP will gladly give the President back 100 billion of it to make The Deal, Part 2. Of course, they will have the budget negotiations in the Fall to extract even more. At this point, there is no sweat for the GOP in the bargaining - they got their big chip in December. The Deal was a terrible mistake.

Speaking for me only

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    The Deal was a domino, and the ones (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:25:09 AM EST
    that will fall as a result are going to make life exceedingly painful for a lot of people, and will do nothing to get us out of this hole we're sinking deeper into.

    Well, (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:23:27 AM EST
    you pretty much can guarantee that the GOP knows that Obama will give them whatever they want.

    I have come to the conclusion... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Romberry on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:56:23 AM EST
    ...that Obama is actually on board with what the GOP wants. He just wants to go their way more slowly. In fact, moving towards the GOP agenda (but slower) seems to be the guiding principle of the elite of the current Democratic Party. I'm not saying that's what Democratic voters want, or all (or even most) Democratic pols want. But those in control of the party? Yeah...I think that's where they're headed. They want to go that way because that's what they believe in.

    peope keep saying that (none / 0) (#12)
    by sj on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 01:57:28 PM EST
    He just wants to go their way more slowly.

    but if this is "slowly" then I don't even know what to say.  It feels pretty darn fast to me.  I think he's only able to go more "slowly" because he has to pretend he's regretful about all those "concessions."  It's a balancing act, right?  Take the direction he wants while losing as few votes as possible.


    The Republicans are excellent (none / 0) (#2)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:35:36 AM EST

    They have a team with aspirational goals and unwavering commitment to those goals while we have a bunch of flaky so-called pragmatists.

    Is it any wonder that they ultimately win every one of these political battles?

    Yes - our team's pragmatism even takes into (none / 0) (#3)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:42:58 AM EST
    account the other side's intransigence. Very efficient.

    Yep (none / 0) (#4)
    by lilburro on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:59:12 AM EST
    the best defenses of Obama right now boil down to "never forget, the GOP is intransigent."  We know.  We haven't forgotten.  Are we just going to sit around for the next 5 years and accomplish nothing?

    If only Obama were accomplishing (none / 0) (#5)
    by observed on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:06:34 AM EST
    nothing. He's done more to undermine Social Security than any Republican president since FDR.

    hey, if it weren't for Obama's (none / 0) (#6)
    by observed on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:08:53 AM EST
    shrewd, pragmatic bargaining, the Republicans would be burning down the Reichstag.
    Way to go, O!

    That's not just gravy (none / 0) (#8)
    by sj on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:53:54 AM EST
    That's a whole turkey dinner.  And Thanksgiving is just one day.  Up next is Christmas dinner, and why stop with the holiday dinners when they can take food off the table all year long?

    Have I mentioned I hate these people?

    Canada is looking more and more appealing (none / 0) (#10)
    by shoephone on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:11:09 PM EST

    I wouldn't be so sure (none / 0) (#11)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:26:57 PM EST
    Canada just gave its Conservative government a majority where it only had a minority before. And now that Conservative government believes it has a mandate to implement austerity, starting with the layoff of thousands of civil servants, followed by balanced budget by 2014. Canada is trying very hard right now to emulate the mother country, Great Britain.

    Just a hunch (none / 0) (#13)
    by Dadler on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 06:11:07 PM EST
    But I think the new conservogov might get a little bit of blowback on that austerity.  Or more than a little.  

    I could be wrong, tho.  Wouldn't be the first time.  We shall see.


    I have to agree. (none / 0) (#14)
    by RickTaylor on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 04:48:59 PM EST
    If the deal had also included a lifting of the debt ceiling, it might have been palatable. But what's the good of passing a massive tax break if it raises the debt and allows Republicans to demand more later?

    You've probably seen this already, but an old video of Obama is making the rounds, that I find disturbing. Evidently, he didn't even try.

    http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/why-liberals-cant-have-nice-things-1210-debt-ceiling-and-t he-bush-tax-cuts-debate-edition/

    Q Mr. President, thank you. How do these negotiations affect negotiations or talks with Republicans about raising the debt limit? Because it would seem that they have a significant amount of leverage over the White House now, going in. Was there ever any attempt by the White House to include raising the debt limit as a part of this package?

    THE PRESIDENT: When you say it would seem they'll have a significant amount of leverage over the White House, what do you mean?

    Q Just in the sense that they'll say essentially we're not going to raise the -- we're not going to agree to it unless the White House is able to or willing to agree to significant spending cuts across the board that probably go deeper and further than what you're willing to do. I mean, what leverage would you have -

    THE PRESIDENT: Look, here's my expectation -- and I'll take John Boehner at his word -- that nobody, Democrat or Republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States government collapse, that that would not be a good thing to happen. And so I think that there will be significant discussions about the debt limit vote. That's something that nobody ever likes to vote on. But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he's going to have responsibilities to govern. You can't just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower.

    The President is a smart man. I can't believe he didn't really understand the question. And as for the rest, it doesn't address the question. Even if we assume Republicans will eventually back down (something I'm not certain of), it sure game them a lot of bargaining power.