I got a real stern talking to on Quora about this, so let me be clear that ideology aside, both parties are employing the same tactic here and that’s why it’s failing them so magnificently. They’re trying to scare the bejesus out of you. Unfortunately, that tactic only works once if someone’s smart, twice if they don’t learn quickly or possibly three times if you’re dealing with a Republican. But if you don’t understand that both parties are employing basically the same negotiating strategy here, you haven’t been paying attention.
Now, if you don’t understand that the answer to the underlying question here is ‘no,’ then you’ve never been in a room with Nancy Pelosi. I understand that many of my readers haven’t held jobs in Congress as Deputy Floor Managers in the U.S. House of Representatives, so let me take you through a better explanation of this.
There is an inherent problem when governing or assembling a team to govern and that is that you can’t control your environment. No one knew the full effects of the economic calamity that was inherited by this President and his administration, no one knew that we’d be facing such staggering unemployment levels this long after economic recovery measures were put in place.
Now, we see an opportunity with the debt ceiling to get something done and as Rahm used to say everyday: “never let an opportunity go to waste” and you’re seeing that with Bill Daley and his guys in action at the White House. It may look like Democrats are extremely bad negotiators, but in truth, they’re just much better politicians.
Understanding the pragmatic and the possible is just as important as understanding the necessary and you saw that today with the President’s statement that he has “bent over backwards” in these negotiations. He really has.
Accepting a raise in the retirement age with Democrats would have been a much harder sell than raising revenues from loopholes with Republicans. All of this goes back to thorough planning though and we did this from 2006-2009, when the President was sworn in.
We had a game plan on health care from day one, now you may not like what that game plan included or didn’t include, but it was extremely effective at getting what we needed.
I understand that on the progressive side, it didn’t achieve some things you guys would have liked like a possibility for single payer down the road or a short term public option in the near term, but it’s established a precedent that can survive the rule of law in the individual mandate and that will be Obama’s legacy.
He’s established a social safety net unseen since Roosevelt and that’s saying something for a Democratic President. Take this quote from Steny Hoyer back in 1996:
“In 1993, a courageous president with vision said we must confront this deficit, for this generation and for generations yet to come. Almost to a person, Republicans rose and said the economy is going to go into the dumpster, unemployment will rise, inflation will rise, and deficits will rise.”
At this point, hopefully some of this is starting to sound familiar. To be clear: the Republican talking points haven’t changed nor has their negotiating strategy. Their strategy is still to scare us to death and then, when we’re down, scare us a little more.
We’re fortunate that we have people in positions of power, like the President, who understand the importance of responsible leadership and the importance of the individual in the American economy.
I can assure you, like Congressman Hoyer before me that Republicans will rise, almost to a person and say that the economy is going to go into the dumpster, unemployment will rise, inflation will rise, and deficits will rise, but repetition doesn’t prove facts, it only proves insanity.