American Elephants

The Imperial Non-Negotiator: My Way or the Highway! by The Elephant's Child


“Republican House leaders are still stunned by President Obama’s in-your-face phone call to Speaker John Boehner late Friday to warn that the White House won’t negotiate on a debt-ceiling increase. The Bravado and arrogance has further antagonized GOP members.” So began Stephen Moore’s piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Chest-thumping? An attempt to embody a more macho-manly character? He is completely conciliatory with Vladimir Putin who is always running around Russia  ruggedly doing manly things with his shirt off, yet with Speaker Boehner, Obama is going to be really, really tough. No negotiations. My way or the highway. Don’t even ask.

Saturday morning, in his weekly address, Mr. Obama explained briefly how he had rescued the economy, created 7½ million new jobs, saved America from its addiction to foreign oil, slowed the staggering growth of health care costs, and in just a week, millions of Americans without health care will be able to be insured for less than $100 a month. And now, having saved the country, he will turn to saving the middle class, as soon as he gives Congress their marching orders. Debt ceiling chicken?

The most basic Constitutional duty Congress has is passing a budget. If it doesn’t pass one before September 30th — a week from Monday—the government will shut down.

We won’t pay the military, federal loans will be frozen (did you have a mortgage?) New home buyers can forget it, Federal loans, small business owners— we will see that  you suffer! No more life-saving discoveries, wind turbines will shut down, and anything we can think of that you might like will be turned off and blamed on Republicans.

When Obama spoke to the Business Roundtable on September 18 , he said:

You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt used to extort a president of a governing party and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt.

That got 4 Pinocchios from the Washington Post fact checker. Congress has been doing what Obama says it has never done since at least 1973. That year Ted Kennedy and Walter Mondale made a campaign finance reform bill a condition of raising the debt ceiling. Over the years since then 25 non-germane amendments were added, though not all passed. Negotiation is how the Founders intended for things to work. They knew that people would disagree, but in negotiation and bargaining, all would come to something that was right for the country and about which everyone could at least accept, if not really agree. Mr. Obama has never really understood the office he holds, and it is always about him, not the country.

The savings in the budget that Obama now brags about, came because of the sequester, which the Democrats hate. Obama has run up the debt by more than $5 trillion. Yet Democrats are absolutely intransigent about cutting back anywhere — in a government oozing waste and fraud, rot and corruption from every orifice.

Mr Obama wants a fight with Republicans so he can blame a shutdown on Republicans. He thinks a threat of default will cause voters to rally around him, as did the 1995 budget battle between Bill Clinton and Republicans. It is not about what is good for the country, it is, once again, all about Obama. He is a fierce competitor, and he plans to win.

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