Thu Mar 7, 2013, 05:02 PM
babylonsister (147,907 posts)
Obama's Dining Room Diplomacy~Why his charm offensive could yield a grand bargain
Last edited Thu Mar 7, 2013, 06:19 PM - Edit history (1)
Obama's Dining Room Diplomacy
Why his charm offensive could yield a grand bargain
BY NOAM SCHEIBER
Last night, Barack Obama bowed to establishment convention and had what must have been a torturous dinner with twelve Republican senators. Before The Washington Post editorial board gets weepy-eyed over this banquet of bipartisan schmoozing, let’s make one thing clear: Even if he were the most prolific, solicitous, all-around charmingest dinner-host the capital had ever seen (think Kay Graham meets Dick Cavett), Obama would not have accomplished much more than he did the last two years, and possibly less. The reason, as many other commentators have spelled out, is that the limits to grand-bargaining aren’t social but structural. They’re the result of the two parties sorting themselves out along ideological lines; of a sharp move rightward among Republicans; and of basic partisan math in the House and Senate. It’s completely delusional to think these factors could be altered by a few more dreary gabfests at the Jefferson Hotel.
Here’s where Obama’s charm offensive comes in. By reaching out to Republican senators who are sympathetic to the deal, Obama just may succeed at splitting some of them off from their leadership, giving him the 60 votes he needs to pass it in the Senate. McConnell can then curse his colleagues’ treachery in public while privately cheering the outcome. In fact, my guess is that once Obama has the magic 60 votes, he will get several more, since many senators will want to claim a share of the credit.
At this point, the House will be in a tough spot. The Senate has just passed a deficit-cutting grand bargain that will prune hundreds of billions of dollars from programs like Medicare and Social Security (something conservatives insist they want) in return for a small amount of tax revenue obtained through the closing of loopholes (which conservatives claim to hate). We know the bill is likely to have a fair amount of public support, since the public already backs this deficit-cutting approach in the abstract, and since you can add 10 to 20 points of public approval to just about anything that passes with bipartisan support.
This, in turn, will be Boehner’s cue to appear before his caucus and inform them that the deal is a “crap sandwich”—offensive in too many ways to count (even though it was largely his idea)—but what can they do? The whole country is getting on board with it. (This, as I noted in my recent mash note to the speaker, is his signature move.) Worse, he might add, the win they thought they’d notched when they stared down Obama over sequestration isn’t looking so winning any more, as defense contractors get ornery over the Pentagon cuts Boehner once claimed to be Zen about. There will be much gnashing of teeth among the GOP rank and file. But, in the end, they will accept that Boehner must bring the Senate-approved bill to the floor, where it will pass with a big assist from Democrats.
3 replies, 853 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Obama's Dining Room Diplomacy~Why his charm offensive could yield a grand bargain (Original post)
|David Zephyr||Mar 2013||#3|
Response to babylonsister (Original post)
Thu Mar 7, 2013, 06:39 PM
Cha (148,776 posts)
2. thanks babylonsistah!
Worse, he might add, the win they thought they’d notched when they stared down Obama over sequestration isn’t looking so winning any more, as defense contractors get ornery over the Pentagon cuts Boehner once claimed to be Zen about. There will be much gnashing of teeth among the GOP rank and file. But, in the end, they will accept that Boehner must bring the Senate-approved bill to the floor, where it will pass with a big assist from Democrats.