Opinion: The Right's Despicable Negotiation Tactics Paid Off

Monday, August 01, 2011 - 11:55 AM

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) hold a news conference after a meeting at the Republican National Committee offices July 26, 2011. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Speaker of the House John Boehner. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/Getty)

I've been very lucky to have been spending quite a bit of my regularly blocked out time for blogging focused on building a new website the last couple weeks. The news has been so frustrating, so roller-coaster like, and so depressingly tilted towards extremists that I've wanted to just put on my headphones and bury myself in code.

I took a break from this around 1:30am on Monday, and saw that we've finally got a deal that looks like it will pass. This is certainly better than default, and lets hope this is enough to keep the credit rating agencies from downgrading us. This is all assuming that the grumbling on the Left doesn't result in a large block of Democrats who don't vote for this deal after all, or the Tea Party right-wingers manage to scuttle this somehow.

Thank heaven we can move on to other things now, right? Like, you know, the two major parties arguing about who won, and who this will help politically.

Lets be honest here... the GOP clearly won this fight. But they did so in an amazingly irresponsible manner, much like winning a game of chicken by letting go of the wheel and assuming the other side will swerve. It's pretty obvious by now that President Obama is a terrible negotiator, and between the inflexibility of the right wing elements in the Republican party, and the more strategic manuevering of the GOP establishment, he mostly twisted in the wind.

It's hard for me to understand why he chose to wait until a week before the country was to default to use his most powerful ace in the hole forcefully - the bully pulpit. His speech last Monday laid out a plan that was well within range of what polling showed the American people wanted out of the debt ceiling negotiations.

Had he been hammering away at the Republicans for the last several weeks, would we have seen a more balanced deal? Could he have pulled in the small percentage of more moderate Republicans in the House and Senate that would have been needed to pass something near what the President oulined in his speech last week? Nobody can know that, but I wish he would have tried.

So the folks on the far right - 20 percent of the populace according to a recent Gallup poll - that only wanted spending cuts out of this essentially got what they wanted. The GOP has opened themselves up to a river of scorn over this, and I could find not a single centrist or moderate blogger, including the right leaners who are more prone to siding with Republicans, who thought the right's behavior on this issue was remotely acceptable.

I don't think the question is whether this will hurt the GOP in the coming election cycle, but rather how much it will hurt them, and whether the Democrats will take the opportunity to build good will with the center in an effort to retake some of the seats lost last year.

Solomon Kleinsmith is a nonprofit worker, serial social entrepreneur and strident centrist independent blogger from Omaha, Nebraska. His website, Rise of the Center, is the fastest growing blog targeting centrist independents and moderates.


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Comments [9]

Marcello from Brooklyn

Ah...yes!! Here comes Paul Thompson from Iowa to remind us about the Dems' "spending addiction" but, obviously, in perfect conservative style, without backing up his assertion with any reality-based evidence of any kind. "It's true because I say so" or better yet, "because the GOP leaders say so and therefore I buy it since I have no ability to analyze facts on my own".
Here is a the link to a brief article that shows "How the deficit got so big" (the exact opposite of Mr. Thompson assertion)

and if the actual text goes beyond the neural capacity of anyone, do not despair it comes with pictures that are pretty easy to interpret. The article has appeared on the lefty, liberal-media champion NY Times but before you discard it as so, keep in mind that the figures come from the independent Congressional Budget Office.

Aug. 07 2011 12:02 PM
Paul Thompson from Iowa

Yes, you would not want to blame the Dems for not having a budget for the last two years! The Dems were fine as long as they could spend, spend, spend. The US voters need to wake up and realize that the current Democratic party is held hostage by far left wing leaders. Check your history and you will see that it didn't used to be this way. The Dems were actually fiscally responsible at one time....but not today. We need a balanced budget, and a clean up of our wasteful spending.

Aug. 07 2011 10:12 AM
Solomon Kleinsmith from Omaha, NE

"It is true that most Democrats nowadays are to the right of President Nixon. Many are to the right of Ronald Reagan's policies. But now it seems that President Obama, and the democrats who are supporting this bill are to the right of 1990's Gingrich!"

This is one of the most foolish things I've read in a few weeks online...

If you are a left winger, I can certainly see how you might think that the dems aren't liberal enough for you. But comparing their spectrum of views with those of Nixon and thinking they are even close... you're out of your mind. If he were around today with the same views, he'd still be a republican, albiet not a Tea Party type.

It's the Reagan and Gingrich parts where you're really off your rocker though. Reagan would not have been a Tea Party type, but he's still far to the right of the dems, and Gingrich is to the right of Reagan.

Aug. 03 2011 11:19 PM
Solomon Kleinsmith from Omaha, NE


He behavior fits squarely with what I've been saying about him since about a year into his presidency. He's said several times that he wanted there to be tax increases as a big part of this, but that just wasn't possible under the circumstances.

He rarely is a fighter, which is a shame since we could use an effective counterbalance to the Tea Party extremist types. He's almost always a compromiser, which I do like about him, but that doesn't make him a moderate, any more than it would have made me a conservative for voting for this right wing "deal" (polls show only 20% of the country wanted a deal with only cuts, hence right wing).

Aug. 03 2011 04:09 AM
Stephen from Inwood

seriously - can we? will we? get Democratic Party alternates (no matter how weak) to Obama in the 2012 primary?
I did originally vote for him but wouldn't now.

Aug. 02 2011 12:44 PM
Is Obama a closet REPUBLICAN ?

Is Obama a closet REPUBLICAN ?

It is true that most Democrats nowadays are to the right of President Nixon. Many are to the right of Ronald Reagan's policies. But now it seems that President Obama, and the democrats who are supporting this bill are to the right of 1990's Gingrich!

What happened to the Democratic party ?
Who will represent the poor and middle class ?

Perhaps it's just that the Republicans have found the solution to Bill Clinton's triangulation strategy - the answer : each time Pres. Obama tries to run right to triangulate, the Republicans run even more extremely to the right, until the Democrats are chasing them into extremist right wing territory.

But maybe we're just foolish outsiders.

Maybe, despite his flowery words, in his heart Pres. Obama IS A CLOSET REPUBLICAN.

Perhaps this piece of theatre was his way of getting his own party to vote to harm their own base - and to accept extremist Republican arguments without disputing their validity or premises, and without proposing any constructive real Democratic alternatives.

Aug. 02 2011 12:01 PM
Marcello from Brooklyn

I am 100% with you on this one!
Actually 99%...I wish you are right on the GOP behavior losing them votes next year but somehow I doubt it.

What I want to know is: what is wrong with Obama??!... What he is doing? As you said, why doesn't he use the bully pulpit??

What I want to ask you is: after all this, do you still think he is a "liberal" as you mentioned in many of your previous posts?

Aug. 02 2011 11:07 AM

Standard Operating Procedure for the GOP...
We borrow and spend the budget into deficit when we are in control, and then complain about how large the deficit has gotten when the Democrats are in control. I see nothing particularly scary except that the electorate lets them pull it off EVERY TIME.

Where is the ACTION on JOBS, Boehner?

Aug. 02 2011 10:12 AM

It is interesting to note the difference in response of the Administration to

A.) the ransom demands and threats of a
terrorist organization, and

B.) the demands and threats of the [for
lack of a better term,] Tea Partyists in
Congress in the debt reduction

Aug. 01 2011 03:02 PM

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