July 26, 2011

"The White House is now on the sidelines."

I haven't felt like linking to David Brooks in a long time, but this column about Obama's negotiating on the debt is pretty useful:
[T]he White House negotiating process was inadequate. Neither the president nor the House speaker ever wrote down and released their negotiating positions. Everything was mysterious, shifting and slippery. One day the president was agreeing to an $800 billion revenue increase; the next day he was asking for $400 billion more. Spending cuts that seemed to be part of the package suddenly seemed hollow. Negotiating partners disappeared.

It was phenomenally hard to figure out exactly who was offering what. Democrats in Congress were kept in the dark and were understandably suspicious. It was all a recipe for misunderstandings, hurt feelings and collapse.

... [T]he president lost his cool. Obama never should have gone in front of the cameras just minutes after the talks faltered Friday evening. His appearance was suffused with that “I’m the only mature person in Washington” condescension that drives everybody else crazy. Obama lectured the leaders of the House and Senate in the sort of patronizing tone that a junior high principal might use with immature delinquents. He talked about unreturned phone calls and being left at the altar, personalizing the issue like a spurned prom date.

Obama’s Friday appearance had a gigantic unintended consequence. It brought members of Congress together. They decided to take control.
And isn't that how it should be? Let Congress write the legislation. The President has a veto power to be exercised or not... after he is presented with the product of Congress's complicated work. Why should he be in charge at the front end, trapping legislators trapped in the territory of the White House — or Camp David! — using his power and prestige to humble them?

In fact, now — as Brooks notes — Boehner and Reid are presenting written proposals that we the people can look at and judge.
Boehner released a plan that involved statutory spending caps with an enforcement mechanism to make sure the cuts are real. Reid released a plan involving bigger long-term spending cuts, with much of the heavy lifting done by a bipartisan select committee. These two carefully coordinated plans are different, but they naturally fit together....

This should be a humbling moment for the White House, and maybe a learning experience. 
It shouldn't have to be called humbling. I think the President was trying to humble Congress. That shouldn't work and it didn't work.

A toast to separation of powers!

67 comments:

E.M. Davis said...

I see Brooks even uses the term "revenue increases."

What an ass.

Fred4Pres said...

Brooks needs to have the "conservative" label pulled. Brooks is a closet liberal. But the type that everyone (except him) knows he is a liberal.

Fred4Pres said...

That said, Brooks made a valid observation about congress. I agree, congress should keep the boyking out of the negotiations and come up with legislation that he can either sign or veto.

But I want Boehner to only agree to legislation that is acceptable. You do not control out of control spending by raising taxes, and especially not in a recession or the cusp of a recession, you cut spending.

Carol_Herman said...

What surprised me most was that Glenn Reynolds wasn't running Stephen Green getting drunk. And, live-blogging.

Yeah. I got surprised.

Seems I always learn something new when I get surprised.

What I learned was this: Obama's popularity has dipped so low that he can stand at the edge of a cliff ... and threaten to push off grandma ... and, all he produced was a yawn.

A yawning gap.

So much for the bluff of "taking it to the people."

What are we going to do with this lame duck, ahead? Will he just push what passes into the robo-signing machine?

I thought the robo-signing machine was just used for "personalized" Christmas cards.

When's Obama's next golf game? Are people now playing against him for real? He's not a happy camper when he loses, ya know?

rick said...

Brooks ..... the adult version of Ezra Klein. Does one spell dud with one or two d's?

rhhardin said...

The final step is congress overriding the veto.

Then the spending cuts don't happen anyway.

pbAndj said...

Brooks is such a tool for BHO.

Are Rs are too dumb to see it?

Now they can compromise, because doing so will demonstrate that BHO was bypassed, never mind policy. Victory!!

Suckers.

SteveR said...

Now that Obama's inexperience is revealed in full, I suppose we should be thankful its a result of a failure in negoitiating a debt deal. There are worse things he could get wrong.

Curious George said...

rick said...
Brooks ..... the adult version of Ezra Klein. Does one spell dud with one or two d's?

Two B's?

E.M. Davis said...

Yeah, I criticize Brooks all of the time, but the excerpts pulled here are devoid of his usual faux-conservative schtick. Here, he makes sense.

David said...

A toast to the separation of powers indeed!

And also to the most transparent Presidency in American history--the Obama administration!

(Just not transparent in the way he originally promised.)

PatCA said...

Obama never did take his role as leader of his party seriously, as evidenced by the legislation he forced down our throats that would doom so many of his colleagues in the 2010 election. He always feels he can "take it to the people" on TV and in People Magazine.

This just seals the deal. All the Dems in Congress can see is more debt--and more defeat in 2012. Buh-bye.

Scott M said...

Who wants to bet Timmy G announces his splitting the administration immediately after this issue is resolved one way or t'other?

From Inwood said...

Since The Anointed One has failed in his pose as the only aduly in the room, Brooks is trying to take on that role.

He's not up to it either.

Also, it should now be obvious to all but slobbering Obamaoids that Obama is all "bluff" as he inadvertently noted to Cantor.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Obama lectured the leaders of the House and Senate in the sort of patronizing tone that a junior high principal might use with immature delinquents.

One of the limitations of the print medium as opposed to blogging is that Brooks was unable to embed a clip of the asshole vice-principal from The Breakfast Club at this point.

From Inwood said...

OOPS, make that "adult"

Methadras said...

Of course the WH is on the sidelines. Urkle has to now fight the calamitous situation he's put us in when he had the house and the senate for 2 years after being elected president and DID NOTHING!!! about the debt 'crisis'. Even Urkles own WH and CBO numbers shine a light on his daily lies. Want to tackle this nightmare, reform medicare, get rid of Obamacare, and go to a 15% across the board flat tax on anything over $50k. That will be a good starting point. If not, then the only option is to cut and curtail spending and deal with it. Everything else is bullshit and only plays into Obama re-election scenarios.

This guy is a walking disaster. I'd rather he just go play golf for the billionth time.

Original Mike said...

"And isn't that how it should be? Let Congress write the legislation."

Agreed. But I think if a President is a skilled negogiator he can play a constructive role. However, Obama has shown no skill at all. And it's not surprising considering his background. Little real experience, being told you're the smartest guy in the room. He really is an "affirmative action" hire. On one level, I feel sorry for him. He is way over his head.

Original Mike said...

"Who wants to bet Timmy G announces his splitting the administration immediately after this issue is resolved one way or t'other?"

Not me. We watched him on three Sunday morning shows. My wife's comment was, "He looks like he wants to throw up."

Original Mike said...

"Now that Obama's inexperience is revealed in full, I suppose we should be thankful its a result of a failure in negoitiating a debt deal. There are worse things he could get wrong."

You don't think our advesaries are watching? There's 1.5 years left.

Scott M said...

Agreed. But I think if a President is a skilled negogiator he can play a constructive role.

This. As POTUS, you are the leader of your party in all but name and have great ability to influence your party's showing in each election during your term(s). If the POTUS is a competent politician, there is definitely a constructive role for him at the table on such an important issue. President Obama seems to be chaffing at the role.

Scott M said...

Not me.

So you think he's going to stay in place? I was suggesting he's going to leave after this "crisis" is resolved or kicked down the street.

rick said...

You would think after 2 1/2 years Owebama (pronounced Obama)would have been wired-in that continuing to vote "present" doesn't cut it when you are the president. Maybe he's interning for the job.

traditionalguy said...

Wait a minute.

Is this more filler material on the story that Congress is totally responsible now for steering the car into the bridge abutment since they have rebelled against the sincere, if much hated by Rich Corporations that control Congress, Obama.

That's not a loss for Obama. That is where he wanted things to go all along.

Hagar said...

I think you have to face up to it that the world's greatest orator just plain is not all that bright.

And he does not understand American politics much better than he understands car insurance.

edutcher said...

Brooks appears to be master of the obvious.

Little Zero has been voting "present" on this for a long time and his unwillingness to negotiate like an adult have forced the House leadership to step into the breach.

The tantrums he's thrown were behind the scenes, but the Friday press conference gave the American people a look at what Boehner and Cantor have had to deal with and people are coming down on their side.

Ann Althouse said...

Boehner and Reid are presenting written proposals that we the people can look at and judge.

The Republicans have offered 5 plans in writing - Coburn's, Rand Paul's, Ryan's, CCB, and Gang of Six.

What Dingy Harry is doing is trying to save as much of the Democrat Party as possible by putting forth something with a Democrat label on it before the cataclysm which is shaping up to be the 2012 elections.

PS I actually believe he really buys into the whole "fairness" on the back of taxes on the eeevil rich thing (even though he's been part of said eeevil rich his whole life), a product of the fact that his whole life has been spent in the company of small c communists.

chuckR said...

Regarding Obama's not keeping his own party's Congressmen and Senators in the loop, why would they expect any different? Obama is apparently using the same template as for ObamaCare, where nobody knew what was in the bill or had even read it. Nancy Pelosi (D-Botox) is going to be remembered, if at all, for her comment that we have to pass the bill to see what's in it. Same deal here.

The man is not competent at his job.

Original Mike said...

"So you think he's going to stay in place?"

No, I think he's leaving too. Sorry for being confusing.

Original Mike said...

"And he does not understand American politics much better than he understands car insurance."

Man, that still blows me away.

Original Mike said...

"The Republicans have offered 5 plans in writing - Coburn's, Rand Paul's, Ryan's, CCB, and Gang of Six."

Not putting things in writing is Obama's M.O. Elmendorf's "We don't score speeches" was priceless.

PatCA said...

I don't know, Scott, that Timmy will leave. He seems to be the ultimate parasitic yes-man, so he always has to stick to a host.

Scott M said...

I don't know, Scott, that Timmy will leave.

Maybe, but I agree with Mike's wife. I saw him on the tube (is it really a tube anymore when it's less than 2" thick?) over the weekend and noticed how bad he looked.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"But I think if a President is a skilled negogiator he can play a constructive role."

This. As POTUS, you are the leader of your party in all but name and have great ability to influence your party's showing in each election during your term(s). If the POTUS is a competent politician, there is definitely a constructive role for him at the table on such an important issue. President Obama seems to be chaffing at the role.

Obama doesn't seem to understand his role as President or how the political process works or how the Constitution has created three branches of government.

He seems to think that he is the king, despot, ruler and that he has the ability to completely control the law making process of Congress.

It is merely a courtesy that Congress is consulting with the Executive Branch. They don't have to do this, but in a negotiation it is wise to have all parties involved.

Obama wants to be the dictator. If we doesn't like the bills that are sent to him by Congress, he has the power of veto.

Chef Mojo said...

It's always mind boggling to hear Obama go after the evil corporations, until you realize this salient fact: In Obama's world there are two kinds of corporations. On the one hand are the run of the mill evil corporations who don't pay their fair share in taxes. And then on the other hand, there are the really evil corporations that pay no taxes at all, but are more than willing to suck his dick.

After you get your mind around that, it all sorta falls into place.

Mick said...

Separation of Powers? Nonsense, there is no such thing. The 3 Branches are united in supporting their masters, the Central Bankers. What does 2.7 Trillion in "savings from money not spent" over 10 years do to a $14.3Trillion deficit? NOTHING, especially when you raise the ceiling--- duh.
This is all a show, Kabuki theatre.

There is no need for a National Debt. Get rid of the Federal Reserve Bankers, who have been given the power to create money from debt (bonds) out of thin air while charging We the People interest. Why do you think they are called Federal Reserve NOTES? Money equals Debt.

Raising the debt ceiling doesn't balance any books, it increases the supply of money, and lessens the buying power of our "money". It is a hidden tax. We have reached the point of debt saturation, where further creation of debt (money) reduces productivity, and thus jobs. It is the end game.

The Kabuki theatre being performed is part of the war against We the People. The outcome is already known, i.e a last minute "solution" that is nothing but accounting trickery, and enhances the ability of the Fed to create more Debt Money from thin air.

The answer is to create sovereign money w/ no debt, take back the money creation power from the criminal FED, and return that power to the rightful owners, Congress, as described in A1S8 of the US Constitution. That power was delegated illegally to the Fed by a simple Act of Congress (Federal Reserve Act 1913), when an Amendment to the Constitution was necessary. Ben Bernanke and his minions at the Fed are the biggest criminals in history-- Bernie Madoff times a trillion. Congress, the President (putative), and the judiciary are subserviant to them. They are all the Club, and you are not in it.

www.swarmusa.com

gerry said...

Brooks throwing Obamalamadingdong under the bus?

Christopher in MA said...

"On one level I feel sorry for him. He is in way over his head."

I don't feel sorry for this piece of garbage at all. He's finally getting his just desserts. Little Black Jesus has been "in way over his head" for his entire life, trained, cossetted and pushed along by Marxist mentors who saw him as the "acceptable" face of the Revolution, by guilty white leftists who wouldn't dare hold a black man to the same level as his white counterpart and by cynical Democrat scum (but I repeat myself) who found LBJ to be an infinitely malleable tool for their schemes.

Despite whatever bitter memories he might have about his deadbeat dad and mattress-back mother, he had a pretty cushy upbringing and has almost never been told "no." He, like his enablers, saw Reagan and Dubya as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who somehow managed to fool the American people into going along with their evil schemes. How much easier it would be, they figured, for a clean, articulate, intelligent black man to move the proles in the proper direction ("What's Wrong With Kansas?" writ large).

Except. . .America isn't Chicago. Thug politics don't work on a grand scale. And Reagan and Bush understood they were part of a constitutional republic. They might be seen to command, but ultimately they persuaded.

This jug-eared dullard, puffed up with his own self-regard and the worship of deliberately blind followers, doesn't understand America because he is fundamentally not American. He has been marinated all his life in a simplistic stew of America-Bad-Republicans-Evil-Flyover-Country-Morons. He's never experienced pushback in his life. And now that it's happening, he can't help but go out and reveal the petulant, whining, thin-skinned clown those of us who were clear-eyed always knew him to be.

Tank said...

Kabuki.

Like that word.

Fits so well what's going on.

I await a list of programs being cut and/or payments being reduced.

When ya see that, give me a call.

Face it, Boner occassionally talks a good game, but when push comes to shove, it'll be more ... kabuki.

John said...

How about this scenario:

Obama is out collecting campaign money like crazy. Seems a bit early unless he is thinking of not running again.

I know, I know. He says he is going to run and he would never lie to us, right?

So he builds up a campaign fund of, say, $500mm (million) and quits.

He can return the money to the donors but I doubt that even Obama is that stupid.

He can't use the money for personal use. But he can claim he is coming back in 2016 and pay himself and Michelle to run his "campaign". There are a bunch of other ways he can fence the money, though he might have to take 50 cents on the dollar.

John Henry

wv: Prehab-Getting therapy before it is needed.

The Crack Emcee said...

I didn't listen to Obama yesterday. I saw him, made up like a silent film star, but I didn't listen.

I've heard it all before.

Mike said...

Well John Boehner was correct last week when he told our Constitutional Law Professor Barack Obama (I should put that in all caps along with the words "World's Greatest Orator"), that Congress's job is to write and pass legislation--and the President's job is to sign the legislation--or not--if the President so chooses. Seems that the nation's leading constitutional law professor needed to be reminded of that simple fact.

But then simple facts seem to be slightly beyond the reach of this Simpleton in Chief.

Original Mike said...

"I don't feel sorry for this piece of garbage at all."

It's easier to be compassionate when you turn the sound off on his speeches.

viator said...

I caught Senator Rand Paul talking on the radio this morning and he pointed out an important fact. We all must remember that any cuts mentioned by the President or congressional leaders are taken from a baseline budget. Now we plain speaking folks think a cut is a cut. You cut $3 from an amount and you end up with $3 less, right? Not in Washington, DC. The baseline budget being used in Washington, DC as we speak calls for +$10 trillion increase over ten years. So the if the Boehner plan, for instance, calls for $3 trillion in cuts what we actually talking about is cutting $3 trillion from a $10 trillion increase. Or, putting it another way, they are cutting a $10 trillion increase to a $7 trillion increase. So a $3 trillion cut is actually a $7 trillion increase.

Senate.gov

John said...

Did anyone notice the picture that Drudge ran yesterday of Obama at La Raza telling them he would prefer doing things on his own.

Chin up in the air, mouth downturned. The second I glimpsed it, even before I read the headline or story I thought "Mussolini"

Drudge pic here:

http://bit.ly/n0y51H

Iconic Mussolini pic here:

http://bit.ly/pdPSLK

Many people have said that Obama is a socialist before. Few say what kind of socialist. I've always thought he was a fascist/socialist. Or even a national socialist.

This helps illustrate it.

John Henry

Christopher in MA said...

"It's easier to be compassionate when you turn the sound off on his speeches."

You can turn the sound of the telescreen off, Mike? You must be a member of the Inner Party :-)

Scott M said...

Or even a national socialist

Not sure about that. National socialists have, by definition, a much bigger hard-on for their own people.

John said...

Christopher jokes about being able to turn off the sound in the telescreen and that reminded me of something I heard last week.

In Google Chrome there is a microphone feature that you can turn on. If you turn it on, Google will listen to any sounds conversation and try to improve its search based on what it hears.

Yes, of course you have to turn it on yourself. No, Google would never turn it on without your permission or knowledge.

I have a similar worry about cameras built into laptops. We saw in that PA school district that they can be turned on surreptitiously to spy. Google would never do that, either.

I decided to hold onto my laptop until it completely dies when I found I could not buy one with a built in camera and mike.


I got this from John C Dvorak on the No Agenda podcast in the morning.

Google is getting creepier and creepier every day. I have removed it from Firefox and am using mostly Dogpile now for search.

John Henry

Roger J. said...

David Brooks his the house conservative at the NYT--he's the kind of conservative that liberal manhattan assholes invite to their cocktail parties.

He's the NYT's house n##ger

Original Mike said...

"You can turn the sound of the telescreen off, Mike? You must be a member of the Inner Party :-)"

Careful. We're watching.

Hoosier Daddy said...

We could slash defense by 50% simply by ending the wars and bringing the troops home.

Wasn't that something he promised during the campaign? End these wasteful wars?

chickenlittle said...

A toast to separation of powers!

Cheers!

chickenlittle said...

@John:
El Douché rhymes with il Duce.

Isn't it romantic?

Christopher in MA said...

"Wasn't that something he promised during the campaign? End these wasteful wars?"

As Insty would say - Hey, rube! :-)

(and, BTW, it's "something He promised." We must show the proper worship)

virgil xenophon said...

Lets see, who do I like here today? Christopherin MA is TOTALLY on target, Mick's point about the Federal reserve Act actually needing to be a Constitutional amendment is SPOT ON; edutcher I agree with totally,also; Christ, EVERYBODY here is pretty much on tgt today. Moron Obama is a one-trick pony (evil corporations, evil corporations, evil corporations! ala SNL's cheese-burger, cheese-burger, cheese-burger! routine) because Communism/Marxism provides but a single-track view of history and how the world works. Once one understands THAT, and remembers that Obama is thoroughly a creature of his intellectual up-bringing--as edutcher reminds us--then EVERYTHING he has done to date is completely logical.

Dan in Philly said...

Congress is very close to having the bit in their mouth. This doesn't happen often, and it is always associated with a total failure of leadership by the current president. Andrew Johnson was a good example.

We'll see if the senate allows this to continue.

Paul said...

"This should be a humbling moment for the White House, and maybe a learning experience."

Hahaha. Obama learn? Why he has so much to teach us!

And teaching us he is! We got Jimmy Carter once, and shame on him. Now we have Jimmy II and shame on us!

grackle said...

I think the President was trying to humble Congress.

He’s into humbling people. He humbled the SCOTUS in prime time during a State of the Union speech. Now he’s humbled the Congress. Let’s hope he humbles himself out of a job come election time.

He seems to think that he is the king, despot, ruler …

You left out “Chairman,” as in “Chairman of the Politburo.” That’s what he’s really aiming for.

yashu said...

Interesting that over the last few days Brooks has subtly, under the radar, backpedalled-- moved crabwise away from-- his support for Obama.

Just a couple days ago (in a TV appearance) Brooks was already noting the problem with Obama's supercilious, petulant tone, but he still clearly took Obama's side, proclaimed that he agreed "substantively" with Obama's plan-- whatever the "substance" of that "plan" might be (don't ask me, but Brooks sounded pretty confident about the content of Obama's substantive plan).

But now Brooks says "Everything was mysterious, shifting and slippery. One day the president was agreeing to an $800 billion revenue increase; the next day he was asking for $400 billion more. Spending cuts that seemed to be part of the package suddenly seemed hollow. Negotiating partners disappeared. […] It was phenomenally hard to figure out exactly who was offering what."

Huh. So in fact, according to Brooks (now), nothing really solid and defined was to be discerned coming from Obama, but rather a lot smoke & fluctuating statements. So what "substance" was Brooks talking about earlier, why was he "substantively" on Obama's side? (Cf. Krauthammer's masterful takedown of his colleagues a few days ago: pundits who, like Brooks, confidently touted Obama's "plan," with its oh-so-substantive spending cuts, but when questioned by Krauthammer couldn't name a single specific thing in those cuts.)

I think many of O's most stalwart advocates & apologists in the MSM, like Brooks, are finding it increasingly difficult to ignore (or try to point their audience away from) the man behind the curtain. In Brooks's case, I imagine he must feel some shame-- to be taken in like such a sucker, exposed as such a rube. Now playing the perspicacious skeptic ("Everything was mysterious, shifting and slippery") on what he'd earlier staked his credence. The substance of O.

Original Mike said...

Speaking of rubes, where are our lefty commenters today?

Fen said...

Speaking of rubes, where are our lefty commenters today?

They don't get up till noon. Then its a half-hour on the pipe, another half-hour on the can. Until their mother comes downstairs to remind them to take out the trash and sweep the walk.

They'll be along shortly. The WOW servers are down today.

Original Mike said...

So, it's not that their embarrassed about their man's performance, huh?

kcom said...

"I saw him on the tube (is it really a tube anymore when it's less than 2" thick?)"

I saw him on the panel...

I saw him on the board...

I saw him on the rectangle...

I saw him on the display...

I saw him on the screen...

Any of those work?

Zach said...

The question I would ask is, who is the President representing in this negotiation? If he's representing the Democrats as a party, he has to be able to deliver the Senate. But the Gang of Six released a plan with significantly more tax increases, causing the President to back out of his deal with Boehner. So I don't think he's credibly negotiating on behalf of a working majority.

Absent enough votes to pass the Senate, Obama's negotiating position is actually very weak. He heads a coequal branch of government, yes, but he has to sign some bill, and there are a wide range of bills that he could potentially sign. The worst he can do is torpedo a bill as unacceptable, and his power to do that decreases as the deadline approaches.

In contrast, Boehner has to deliver 50% plus one in the House, and Reid has to get to 60 votes in the Senate. Both of them have a much more constrained set of bills they could sign, so they have much stronger positions. Boehner and Reid are the people who should be negotiating. Negotiating with the President won't resolve anything.

jamboree said...

So Congress will do the debt deal as Congress did the Health Care Bill.

And Obama has done what, exactly?

He did give the order to get Osama.

But what else has he done that Congress didn't end up doing?

Tim said...

Tl;dr.

The only column I want to read from David Brooks is the one where he apologizes for voting for the Dali-Obama.

Sheesh.

virgil xenophon said...

Kcom/ Naw, no more than "he dropped a dime on him" will ever be replaced--and for the same reasons: A) tradition/inertia and b) the alternative is nowhere as expressive and/or rolls off the tongue easier. (e.g., NO ONE says: "He dropped a buck 25 on him") In the US Navy, for example, the CO of the carrier AirWing is STILL unofficially referred to by all by the WWII designation "the CAG"--Commander, Air Group--despite the fact that title was changed long ago to "AirWing."

Canuck said...

"A toast to separation of powers!"

Hopefully this works out OK for the USA in the next few weeks.

Can anything get through both the House and the Senate?

This debt limit issue may demonstrate the benefits of parliamentary systems.

I am kind of curious though. If the debt limit doesn't get raised...

Will the markets meltdown? Will they shrug it off? Will it cause a huge shock to the US economy? Will GDP slow down? Will unemployment rise?

What will happen to the world economy if Treasuries can't be bought? (The USD is the world reserve currency.)

Could expected inflation actually help the USA's economic depression?

Who knows? Anything or nothing could happen in the next few weeks.