Republicans Can’t Govern

Filed in National by on November 30, 2012

Republicans are all about big, brave (and vague) talk on the campaign trail, but once they get into office and have to govern they become whiny babies.  President Obama has put a plan on the table.  Unsurprisingly, Republicans don’t like it.  So, what do Republicans do?  Counter with a different plan?  Nope – because that would actually require doing work and putting their big, bad and vague campaign talk into written word.

What they’re asking for is President Obama to negotiate with himself, and that ain’t happening.

Perhaps the key lesson the White House took from the last couple of years is this: Don’t negotiate with yourself. If Republicans want to cut Medicare, let them propose the cuts. If they want to raise revenue through tax reform, let them identify the deductions. If they want deeper cuts in discretionary spending, let them settle on a number. And, above all, if they don’t like the White House’s preferred policies, let them propose their own. That way, if the White House eventually does give in and agree to some of their demands, Republicans will feel like they got one over on the president. A compromise isn’t measured by what you offer, it’s measured by what the other side feels they made you concede.

The GOP is right: This isn’t a serious proposal. But it’s not evidence that Obama isn’t serious. He’s very serious about not negotiating with himself, and his opening bid proves it. Now that they’ve leaked his initial offer, the next question is obvious: What’s their offer?

Balls in your court, Republicans.  Do you even know what to do with it?  Go on and finally name the tax deductions you’d cut.  Go on and show us your proposal to cut Medicare.  Go on and govern… if you can – which I seriously doubt.


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A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

Comments (28)

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  1. puck says:

    As far as I am concerned the current House proposal is the Ryan budget. They all voted for it. Have they put out anything since then?

  2. puck says:

    Dare we hope Obama has finally learned how to negotiate? Yesterday Geithner presented Republicans with a proposal that no doubt will have them waking up in pools of sweat each night. Meanwhile Obama is roaming the country lobbying the people for his proposals. This is so unlike his Rose Garden strategy on health care, and jetting off to Afghanistan for the 2010 tax debate. Maybe he gets it now.

    And also yesterday, Jay Carney issued an unequivocal veto threat on taxes: ” The President will not sign any legislation that extends the Bush-era tax cuts for top earners in this country.” (of course, that doesn’t mean Obama is committed to the Clinton rates for the rich).

  3. cassandra_m says:

    Obama has way better cards now, which, interestingly, we’ve still not figured out how to assess.

    Adding — let’s also not forget that Democrats’ actual weakness in these kinds of discussions is a commitment to governing. A burden which the GOP is completely unburdened by.

  4. Jason330 says:

    So true Cassandra.

  5. puck says:

    Not to disturb the water under the bridge, but Obama had way better cards with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker during the 2010 tax cut expiration debacle (when he also held the expiration hammer but chose not to wield it).

    Good Lord, Pelosi kept sending him the very bills he was elected for, but he laid down and handed the keys to conservadems.

    I’d compare Obama’s 2010 legislative performance with his performance in the first debate with Romney. Now he has a second chance which is rare in politics.

  6. socialistic ben says:

    you’re absolutely right cass. I think that is actually why so many shit-deals were allowed to go through in the first term. The GOP would have been perfectly happy to let nothing at all happen, and just let the whole country collapse. They made it so any governance at all was a huge compromise on their part and forced the Dems, who actually wanted to do their jobs, so take crappy deals.
    What i hope happens this time, since the GOP has already decided to use the same style, is that Obama constantly calls them out on it. Hold apress conference a week and list all the things he and the Dems are trying to do, and names the names of the people holding things up. He cant just let Reid and Pelosi do it. Even if some ponies arent delivered, if Obama is playing the optics game well, the 2014 mid-terms could be the end on the GOP (finally)

  7. jason330 says:

    Republicans are trying to hold the economy hostage. In 2010 you and I were aware of the fact that that the GOP didn’t fear, but WELCOMED a collapsed economy – the President and his advisers didn’t see it.

    They see it now.

  8. cassandra_m says:

    Good Lord, Pelosi kept sending him the very bills he was elected for, but he laid down and handed the keys to conservadems.

    Um, no. Pelosi kept sending these bills over to the Senate where they couldn’t get 60 votes. As long as majority rule doesn’t matter in the Senate AND conservadems don’t need Obama for anything, failure of some signature stuff was going to be in the cards.

    But here’s the thing that I’m not getting — where are the rest of the Dems in being out and about talking about this? NPR seems to think that talking to the GOP is the ticket (and they don’t push back on the stuff that is fact checked as lies) Boehner and his flying monkeys are out pushing the same old tired bullshit and it would BE REALLY NICE if Dems would clearly tell people that they are lying their asses off.

  9. jason330 says:

    @Puck The proposal Geithner presented yesterday is a good one. I guess Coons replied via WDEL, has anyone heard Carney’s reaction?

    Here is Coons:

    Coons said President Obama will stand firm in calling for tax hikes in exchange for spending cuts.

    “What he’s publicly announced is that he’s expecting no less than one-point-six trillion over the next decade in new revenue, and if that’s put on the table, he will put a comparable amount of spending cuts on the table.”

    Naturally, Carper restated the GOP position:

    Republicans have to find a way to support some tax increases.

    “Whether it be nearer tax rates for income above a certain level, or whether it be eliminating deductions and credits.”

  10. puck says:

    @cassandra – no good bill ever has 60 votes unless you fight for it. The Civil Rights Act didn’t have 60 votes but it was finally passed 71–29. Because LBJ put his heart and his ass into the fight. Would you rather he shrugged and said “It doesn’t have 60 votes – oh well.”

    But if the President walks away from the fight there will never be 60 votes, which is what happened in 2010 – Obama told us so himself in his Pearl Harbor Day press conference. These are not Democratic victories.

    The only bills that get 60 votes with no heart, no fight are bills aligned with the rich. (2010 tax cut extension, 81 votes). Is that how you want to govern? If you do, Coons, Carney, and Carper welcome your support.

  11. pandora says:

    Ah, the famous Mitt Romney and Republican myth about the mythical 60 vote super majority. Can we please put this to bed? Click on the link and watch the damn video.

    And, keep in mind, Joe “I supported and campaigned for McCain” Lieberman is part of the 60 vote super majority.

  12. cassandra_m says:

    The thing is that you have no idea what Obama fought for. Much like you know what Johnson fought for and how he did it quite after the fact. The conservadems who helped block Obama’s legislation didn’t have much to gain by helping the President. And I don’t care who you are, when you are a legislator who doesn’t owe much to the President who is in your own party, there is little leverage to apply. But I will ask you One More Time for a detailed explanation of the exact leverage that could have been applied to each the conservadems who stood back. Detailed. For each one.

    The original Civil Rights bill had to surmount a filibuster (which Robert Byrd was a key player in). It did (needing 67 votes then). But after the filibuster was broken, the Senate passed an amended version of the Civil Rights Bill that was being worked during the filibuster. Cloture got 71- 29; the amended bill (the weakened compromise!) got 73-27.

    I want to govern based on facts on the ground and on what is possible based on that. Revisionist history and a need to have your President be a superman doesn’t get you anywhere. Except sitting behind your keyboard persistently looking like you have no idea what you are talking about.

  13. socialistic ben says:

    that is the problem. I would like to see him publicly fight. Bring the arguments and debating right out in front of the public. way back in the 2008 primaries, one thing that earned my support early was his idea that all negotiations should be public. I understand it cant ALL be on the news, but him doing all the fighting in ass-bag senator’s offices, make the argument in front of cameras, so everyone knows what he is offering the other side. What is encouraging is the so-called “fiscal cliff road show” If Boner wants to know what Obama’s offer is, he need only to watch news footage. Guys like him, and McConnell, and even Carper, dont deserve private meetings.

  14. cassandra_m says:

    Public fights are about getting voters to create pressure with their congress people. Most of the public fights are about theater. Anyone remember the Health Care Summit? Even better, anyone remember what got resolved by that very public argument? I didn’t think so. But I’d agree that Obama didn’t do enough theater in the first term. On the other hand, I also don’t think the theater necessarily = fight.

  15. cassandra_m says:

    And it looks like Nancy Pelosi is getting into the fight. She is floating the idea of a discharge petition to pass the middle class tax cuts that the Senate passed. As Yglesias notes, if she does this, Boehner now needs to not just get a deal for his conservatives, but he has to keep the “left” part of his caucus from voting for this petition.

  16. puck says:

    A discharge petition is how the Civil Rights Act got out of its House committee (since I was just reading about that). The discharge petition looked like it would win, so the (Democratic) chairman released the bill rather than be embarrassed by the petition.

  17. jason330 says:

    The discharge petition is a great idea. It really jams it to GOPers in moderate districts who have to get elected every 24 months.

  18. jason330 says:

    Discharge petition on for next week if GOP fails to move on middle-class tax cuts.

    “We’re calling upon the Republican leadership in the House to bring this legislation to the floor next week,” Pelosi said. “We believe that not doing that would be holding middle-income tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the rich. … If it is not scheduled, then on Tuesday we will be introducing a discharge petition.”

    I like that Democrats are owning the News cycle and leaving the Republican scrambling.

  19. bamboozer says:

    Republicans don’t govern, they pillage. When they get in office thier first goal is to reward thier rich and powerful friends with tax cuts, gutting regulation and screwing the sicj, old and poor. As for the fiscal cliff debacle I’ve done my bit by contacting the three C’s, Carper, Coons and Carney. Sure, they’ll ignore me but it’s all we’ve got.

  20. Jason330 says:

    Good job contacting those guys. We have to keep the pressure on because they’ll take the worst opportunities to burnish thier “bipartisan” credentials.

  21. Rusty Dils says:

    The republicans are governing. Their job the next 4 years is to give the socialist as little money as possible to waste Get used to it, that is what they will be doing for the next 4 years. It is like when you have a spoiled brat teenager who waste all their allowance, your job as a parent is to give them as little extra money as possible. Not to give them whatever they ask for. The Republicans are just doing the same thing all you guys do as parents, giving the spoiled brat wasteful socialist as little money as possible to waste.

  22. puck says:

    Keep calling the voters spoiled brat socialists, Rusty. Our children will have to check out books to read about how we used to have Republicans in this country.

  23. geezer says:

    Very touching, Rusty. I like your analogy of the GOP as an abusive parent.

  24. Jason330 says:

    I have no doubt the Dils believes that nonsense. The GOP policy malers know very well what the actual plan for the next four years is – just as the last four years; try and undercut cut the recovery so that Republicanism will appear to be relevant. It didn’t work of course, but I they’ve got a very small number of tools in thier tool box.

  25. geezer says:

    They love to insult liberals by talking about the nanny state. They do so because they want a daddy state, and they want daddy to like them best.

    I find child psychology the best lens with which to view American conservatism.

  26. Tom McKenney says:

    They are for the daddy state unfortunately their idea of daddy is a ranting and raving alcoholic who doesn’t spend his money on the family but buys new guns

  27. Jason330 says:

    That metaphor holds up awfully well.

  28. X Stryker says:

    Lol, who’s acting like a spoiled brat, Rusty? I’m guessing that would be the party that refuses to allow bills to be debated on the floor of the senate.

    Republican projection is amazingly consistent – if you want a concise description of what Republicans are doing, just listen to what they falsely accuse others of doing.