It looks like there’s about to be a political game of chicken playing out in Washington. President Obama has done a series of speeches saying he wants to reach a “grand bargain” with Republicans on taxes and the upcoming budget debates, but appearances may be deceiving. Numerous news outlets are reporting that what he’s proposing are really the same “warmed over” policies that didn’t fly the first time. And that debt ceiling thing? Forget about the president budging on his position. He said so himself just yesterday afternoon. All in all, it seems like the White House may be more willing to see a shutdown than they’re leading on.
OBAMA’S NOT AFRAID OF A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN TO GET WHAT HE WANTS FROM REPUBLICANS
“Obama May Be More Willing… To Allow A Government Shutdown If Republicans Don’t Give Ground On Spending Levels.” “In the fight over a stop-gap spending measure for the new fiscal year that begins October 1, Democrats say Obama may be more willing than in prior budget battles to allow a government shutdown if Republicans don’t give ground on spending levels.” (CarenBohan, “Obama seeks to rally Democrats behind tough budget message,” Reuters, 7/31/13)
“Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Told ‘Fox News Sunday’ That President Obama Will Neither Sign Government Funding Bills That Slash Domestic Spending Nor Negotiate With Republicans Over Spending Cuts To Reduce The Federal Debt Limit.” (“White House Doubles Down On Vow Obama Won’t Agree To More Spending Cuts,” Fox News, 7/28/13)
The Washington Post: “White House Hardens Stance On Budget Cuts Ahead Of Showdown With Republicans.” “Senior White House officials are discussing a budget strategy that could lead to a government shutdown if Republicans continue to demand deeper spending cuts, lawmakers and Democrats familiar with the administration’s thinking said Thursday. The posture represents a more confrontational approach than that of this spring, when President Obama decided not to escalate a fight over across-the-board reductions known as sequestration in an earlier budget battle with Republicans.” (Zachary A. Goldfarb and Paul Kane, “White House Hardens Stance On Budget Cuts Ahead Of Showdown With Republicans,” The Washington Post, 7/25/13)
OBAMA’S APPROACH: IF IT DIDN’T WORK THE FIRST TIME, LET’S TRY THE SAME THING AGAIN AND EXPECT A NEW OUTCOME
LA Times: “Obama’s New/Old ‘Grand Bargain': The President Might Have More Success On Capitol Hill If He Stopped Recycling Economic Proposals That The Republicans Have Already Rejected” (Editorial Board, “Obama’s new/old ‘grand bargain,’’ LA Times, 7/31/13)
The Washington Post: “Meet President Obama’s new economic message. Same as his old economic message” (Chris Cillizza, “Meet President Obama’s new economic message. Same as his old economic message.” The Washington Post, 7/24/13)
· “You Could Be Forgiven If You Thought You Had Heard President Obama’s Speech On The Economy Today Before. Because You Have.” “You could be forgiven if you thought you had heard President Obama’s speech on the economy today before. Because you have. For most of the 2012 campaign.” (Chris Cillizza, “Meet President Obama’s new economic message. Same as his old economic message.” The Washington Post, 7/24/13)
The Washington Post: “A warmed-over jobs message” (Dana Milbank, “A warmed-over jobs message,” The Washington Post, 7/23/13)
· “How can the president make news, and remake the agenda, by delivering the same message he gave in 2005?” (Dana Milbank, “A warmed-over jobs message,” The Washington Post, 7/23/13)
TIME:“Obama Then And Now: Eight Years Later, the Speech is the Same” (Zeke J. Miller, “Obama Then And Now: Eight Years Later, the Speech is the Same,” TIME, 7/25/13)
“[I]f Wednesday’s speech was truly intended to address the economy, it would suggest we must all be insane to expect differences to result from the same ideas, over and over again.”(Sharon Poczter, “President Obama’s Economic Speech Indicates That He Thinks Us All Insane,” Forbes, 7/26/13)
The Wall Street Journal: “Obama’s ‘Grand Bargain’ With Obama: He proposes tax reform with higher taxes and not much reform.” (Editorial, “Obama’s ‘Grand Bargain’ With Obama,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/31/13)
Obama’s ‘Grand Bargain’ Was More Of A Refusal To Compromise: “In Chattanooga on Tuesday, the latest stop on his economic inequality tour, President Obama made himself an offer he couldn’t refuse. If Congressional Republicans agree to a corporate tax increase, he said, then he’ll agree to spend more money on his favorite public-works projects. If Republicans bargain hard, will he also offer an expansion of ObamaCare as a sweetener?” (Editorial, “Obama’s ‘Grand Bargain’ With Obama,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/31/13)
New Speeches Were About Setting The Stage For Upcoming Budget Battles, Rather Than Proposing New Ideas:
President Obama’s “More Than Tenth ‘Pivot To The Economy’ Speech” Is “About Setting Up The Stage For A New Season Of Political Drama.” “If President Obama’s more than tenth ‘pivot to the economy’ speech on Wednesday is any indication, the series of upcoming speeches will not truly be about setting up a strategy to address the issues of economy, but rather setting up the stage for the new season of political drama, so Americans can preemptively choose sides (his) before the debate actually begins.” (Sharon Poczter, “President Obama’s Economic Speech Indicates That He Thinks Us All Insane,” Forbes, 7/26/13)
Obama’s Speech Wasn’t About Strategy Because That Requires “An articulation of specific, measurable objectives rather than just general platitudes.” “Billed as needed to address a long term American economic strategy, Wednesday’s speech does anything but that. As any executive would know, setting up a long-term strategy requires the articulation of specific, measurable objectives rather than just general platitudes.” (Sharon Poczter, “President Obama’s Economic Speech Indicates That He Thinks Us All Insane,” Forbes, 7/26/13)
And In Case You Weren’t Sure, President Obama’s Definitely Not Negotiating On The Debt Ceiling:
The Washington Post: “Obama: ‘We are not negotiating on the debt ceiling’” (Rachel Weiner, “Obama: ‘We are not negotiating on the debt ceiling,’” The Washington Post, 7/31/13)
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