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December 06, 2012 10:17 AM Save Me, O Enemy

By Ed Kilgore

One of the odder phenomena surrounding the big fiscal talks is the extent to which Obama-hating Republicans are relying on the charity of Barack Obama to save them from their own excesses. Having spent the entire 2012 election cycle treating the president as a semi-psychopathic thug who has never, ever reached out to Republicans, they now expect him not only to do backflips over their grudging willingness to put revenues (but not tax rates!) on the table, but to swallow their entire spending-side agenda out of gratitude. Check out this quote Dana Milbank recorded at a House GOP press conference yesterday:

One of Boehner’s lieutenants, Pete Roskam of Illinois, stepped to the microphones, essentially pleading for the president to show mercy. “President Obama has an unbelievable opportunity to be a transformational president — that is, to bring the country together,” he said. “Or he can devolve into zero-sum-game politics, where he wins and other people lose.”

This is pretty interesting coming from one of the stipulated losers. And it’s highly reminiscent of that twilight period in the late 1990s when House Republicans were simultaneously begging Bill Clinton to take the lead on Social Security “reform” even as they sought to drive him from office.

You couldn’t blame Obama for devising some serious acts of public humiliation for these guys before he even considers their pleas to come to the table and help them out of the fiscal policy trap they have built for themselves.

UPDATE: At TNR, Bill Galston begs to differ, believing no deal is possible so long as the negotiations are held in public.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • BillFromPA on December 06, 2012 10:36 AM:

    It's really simple, the GOP is trying to goad Obama into naming the cuts that they want so that in addition to getting what they want, they get to blame the Dems for the unpopular cuts. I actually think Obama and the Dems get it this time. They put their plan out there and they're prepared to wait indefinately for Boehner et al to name SPECIFIC cuts, not vague references to what they intend to happen. If the repugs want to slash and burn the various safety nets, they're going to have to propose doing just that, out in the open with no cover from Obama.

  • Ethan on December 06, 2012 10:38 AM:

    You couldn't blame Obama for devising some serious acts of public humiliation for these guys before he even considers their pleas to come to the table and help them out of the fiscal policy trap they have built for themselves.

    I don't really expect him to, but I wish he would. It's not just that they deserve it. They need to pay a price for their behavior. The alternative is an unending rain of crap on all of us.

  • Anonymous on December 06, 2012 10:41 AM:

    The Repukeliscum are really amazing. When they are in control, they cram the GOPpercrap down our throats and say "We won, suck it up." Now they lost, so they say "We lost, so do what we want because winners have to compromise." Obama had BETTER NOT do that, or he will have a major liberal eruption.

  • c u n d gulag on December 06, 2012 10:44 AM:

    OT:

    HOKEY SMOKES, Bullwinkle!!!

    Jim DeMint is resigning from the Senate – ostensibly to run The Heritage Foundation!

    Hmm…

    Now why would a Senator, with 4 years left on his term, leave to head a “Think Tank?”
    Money?
    It’s not like there wouldn’t be any in a 4 years.
    Hmm…

    Jesus told him to?
    Dead girl? Live boy?

    Hmm...

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/06/breaking-sen-jim-demint-will-step-down-from-senate/?hpt=hp_t3

  • Ronald on December 06, 2012 10:54 AM:

    @cund- wow on the DeMint news.

    Else: Since the Republicans have no plan, the best thing Obama can do is to keep insisting that we see their plan.

    Not having a plan cost them the election, and not having a plan will continue to damage their 'brand'.

    The best thing that Obama did for the Republicans last time was to define the parameters of the negotiations, to which the Republicans could then go pbbbt to and look like winners for being obstinate pigs.

    Fuck 'em. Make them negotiate. In public, even. Lets hear what they've got, lets see it backed up.

    The thing that everybody knows (outside of the Faux news bubble) is that not only do they have no ideas, and no plan, any plan they come up with will be divisive within their own party.

    Ha.

  • c u n d gulag on December 06, 2012 10:54 AM:

    TPM says it's so he can work on spreading Conservatism. Here's TPM's quote from the WSJ:
    'In an interview preceding the succession announcement, Sen. DeMint said he is taking the Heritage job because he sees it as a vehicle to popularize conservative ideas in a way that connects with a broader public. "This is an urgent time," the senator said, "because we saw in the last election we were not able to communicate conservative ideas that win elections." Mr. DeMint, who was a market researcher before he entered politics, said he plans to take the Heritage Foundation's traditional research plus that of think tanks at the state level and "translate those policy papers into real-life demonstrations of things that work." He said, "We want to figure out what works at the local and state level" and give those models national attention.'

    Again, hmm...
    Conservatism seems to be working FINE on the local and on the Red State state level - not so much in Blue ones.

    Conservatism sucks on the Blue State and National level.

    Why would he leave the Senate, where he's the most important and powerful Conservative Senator, a potential Kingmaker, to lead a Think Tank?

    Could it be he sees that any R midterm election loss, and '16 Presidential loss, will be pinned to him on the Senate side?

  • T2 on December 06, 2012 10:55 AM:

    DeMint bails.....rat=ship=sinking.
    The Public Humiliation that some wish Obama would dish out has been dished out...it was called an election.....in which god's chosen candidate was crushed by Obama.
    Now, daily, the cookie is crumbling for the Conservative/TeaBag/Norquist plan to "take their country back" to the pre-Civil War days when really rich white people owned slaves. Poll after poll show America is finished buying their "Job Creator trickle-down" crap. When a Key Player like DeMint in the hard-core TeaParty bails to make millions spewing his load of crap to a small minority of racists, you realize they see the writing on the wall.
    This gives the Dems a chance to pick up two more votes, as Lindsey Graham is up for re-election also.

  • exlibra on December 06, 2012 11:11 AM:

    [...] the GOP is trying to goad Obama into naming the cuts that they want so that in addition to getting what they want, they get to blame the Dems for the unpopular cuts. -- BillFromPA, @10:36 AM

    That, and/or they want to use his proposals as the base, from which they'll demand double of what he offered. Because, of course, it stands to reason that if Obama -- the well known socialist -- offered those cuts, they have to be inadequate.

  • POed Lib on December 06, 2012 11:35 AM:

    On the occasion of DeMinted leaving the Senate:

    I am not hugely shocked. No one likes him there. He is not on the same page with rest o fhte Repukeliscum. He has only the power to obstruct. And that is a power with a limited lifespan. He is probably tired of that. During his entire career in the Senate, he has been in the majority for 2 years (IIRC).

  • Anonymous on December 06, 2012 12:14 PM:

    “Or he can devolve into zero-sum-game politics, where he wins and other people lose.”-Roskam

    Dear Mr. Roskam,

    Go fuck yourself.

    Sincerely,
    President Barack Obama

  • Bokonon on December 06, 2012 12:31 PM:

    And in GOP mythology, Obama is supposed to play chump and do all the unpopular stuff for them because ... Obama is the new-style Jimmy Carter or something. And the GOP still believes their own press that Obama can be intimidated they take things up the brink. All because it NEEDS to work this way for the GOP to get itself off the hook with its constituencies.

    Whether this scenario has any connection to reality is dubious (although the GOP seems to think they won the last round over the Debt Ceiling).

    But the GOP sort of blurs the difference between wishing and hoping and planning and believing and taking action these days.