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Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Donald Pay

Uh, great. Here we have another history rewrite that leaves out critical details (on purpose?). Obama wanted a "grand bargain" that went close to or over $ 4 trillion. The deal with Boehner and the House Republicans was going to be much smaller than that. The Gang of Six proposal was closer to what Obama wanted.

Ken Blanchard

Yeah, Donald, those neocons at the Washington Post are rewriting history. That is scarcely necessary in your case, however, since you can be counted on to ignore history.

Maybe the Gang of Six proposal was "closer to what Obama wanted." That would count for something on Fantasy Island, but not in Washington D.C. There is no evidence the G6 actually had a proposal. Nothing was ever written down. Even if it had been more than talk, there is no reason to believe that the Senate was capable of passing anything resembling a budget. They haven't done so for the last three years. No realistic proposal was likely to come out of the Senate,which explains the fact that the President wasn't negotiating with the Senate. He had involving in the G6 proposal.

By contrast, the House deal was down on paper and aides on both sides were working on the details. It was real and, for once, the President was actually involved. The House is manifestly capable of passing budget acts. If the House had passed the deal with the President's explicit endorsement, there might have been enough pressure to get the Senate to come alone. That is how a deal might have been reached.

Unfortunately, the President went full moon in the middle of negotiations and blew it. He tried desperately to undo the damage, but by then it was too late. That's our man.

Bill Fleming

Oh sure, blame Obama for Boehner's inability to sell a deal to the Tea Party.
Whatever it takes, right KB?
How about admitting that the current House is practically impossible to whip?
Because it is. (...okay, to your credit, you came pretty close...)
That situation will soon be rectified, I trust. People are sick of it.
If not, it won't matter who becomes President.

Donald Pay

Who are the anonymous sources for your story, KB? Didn't you whine about anonymous sources a while back? The Washington Post story doesn't attribute much of this story to specific sources. You can sort of make out that they were mostly Republicans, with maybe Daly thrown in.

Sure, I believe some things were written down with Boehner. They had an outline of some of the things that would go into a deal. That means diddly squat when you don't have a deal.

D.E. Bishop

You know, I have found lots of interesting information here KB, and I appreciate it. This is not one of those times.

It's really quite apparent you are pushing an agenda by your use of perjorative language:
"Pushing Press Secretary Jay Carney to the side..." He's shoving Carney around.

"Then Obama's personality shifted once more..." It's not that he was disappointed with the Repub behavior, it's that he is mentally unstable.

If you have a solid story, you don't need to use language to create an image of a violent and unstable president. It well be there, no spin necessary. I am disappointed in this post.

Bill Fleming

You might want to put this new book on your reading list, KB:


Excerpt from Chapter 10:

"The audience roared with laughter. Trump was at the dinner, a guest of the Washington Post, and practically everyone in the room was looking to see his reaction. He didn't crack a smile. He appeared to be seething. There was a charge in the ballroom. It was as if a school bully were being called out in the middle of an assembly. In this instant, Obama was vanquishing Trump, birtherism, the silliness that often infects American politics, and the far Right's ridiculous assaults on him.

In a day, though, this moment would seem sharper and deeper than the audience at the dinner realized, for as Obama was mocking Trump, he was anxiously awaiting the outcome of one of the most weighty decisions of his presidency—his order to send a team of US special forces into Pakistan to get Osama bin Laden."


I know, I know, KB, you probably still think the guy doesn't know about leadership.

How about we just give the book a quick onceover, and then revisit the subject.


John Boehner is SOH because of the TEA party. However to get that deal through, he did not need the TEA party. Even if 100 Republicans did not go along with the deal, there are enough Democrats in the House to have passed it anyway. Boehner is in a tough position, and when he is negotiating with someone who keeps shifting his deal, it makes it even more difficult. It looks to me like the Speaker could not count on Obama to keep his word. Why go to his caucus when by the time there is agreement, the other side is going to change anyway?

Mark Anderson

2009, Rush Limbaugh right after Obama assumes the presidency,"I hope he fails". 2010, Mitch McConnell,"the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." I would imagine that Obama has finally learned that rather than govern, Republicans simply want to defeat him no matter what happens to the government or the country.


Mark, if you want to take that out of context, it might sound bad. But that is what you have to do. If you had bothered to listen to the entire thing, you would know that Rush pointed to all of the things Obama said he wanted to do to the country. Any sane person would want Obama to fail at that. Apparently you, Bill, Donald, Cory and a few other people like what Obama is doing to this country.


Let me try my hand at emulating the Post authors' style: Mitt Romney campaigns with a tentative yet cool detachment one might expect from an android sent from a strange planet, the inhabitants of which have, for some inexplicable reason, spent time determining the proper height of trees.

Ken Blanchard

Donald: fair point. Anonymous sources are problematic in all cases but, as I have acknowledged, they are probably indispensable. I complained about anonymous sources that were vague and unsupported by any other evidence. Rick Perry's Racist Rock was a good example of a story built almost entirely on such a foundation.

In this story, the basic facts fit a well established time line and, best of all, the Administration is free to object if anything here was wrong. Has it?

At any rate, the basic story does not seem to be contested. Obama wanted a deal with the House. He had one. Then he blew it by suddenly changing his mind, wanting more, and speaking arrogantly to his potential partners. Then he decided that he wanted the original deal. By then it was too late. That is a story of bad leadership.

Ken Blanchard

D.E.B.: I concede rhetorical excess. However, it seems clear that Obama's decision to address the Press was spur of the moment. It is also clear, as I said, that Obama took his eye off the ball and then regretted it. This was a botched negotiation.

Ken Blanchard

Bill: I have no doubt that Barack Obama can dazzle a crowd. Apparently you think that that is his only job. I think his job is to make policy. To do that you have to negotiate with the other party, no matter how difficult or unpleasant that may be. The story makes it clear that he could have had a deal. He did have one, and then threw it away by playing to the crowd. No amount of excuse making will paper over that.

Bill Fleming

Or... he got exactly what he wanted. Yet another public demonstration of GOP recalcitrance.

Ken Blanchard

Yes, Bill. That would be THE alternative explanation. When he told us over and over again that the public interest was at stake in the debt limit debate, he was lying through his teeth. He didn't give a rat's ass about the public interest. His only purpose was to make sure the Republicans look bad so as to advance his chances of reelection. If that is what you would prefer to believe about the President, be my guest.

Billl Fleming

Awww Kenny... If your guys are so stubborn they won't take a good deal when it's laying on the table, how is that my guy's fault?

Donald Pay

You labor under numerous false assumptions, in order to prove what you want to prove. In typical KB fashion, you start out with the conclusion, which you have stated in the title "A Failure of Leadership." You make it clear this is not meant to be in anyway descriptive of the entire process with leadership deficits on both sides of the negotiations. Oh, no. The failure is entirely Obama's, according to you. You can only get there by making false assumptions.

The major false assumption is that there was a deal between House Republicans and Obama, and that Obama's leadership failure was responsible for some breakdown. The first point to make is this: there was no deal. You don't have a deal just because someone has written some points of agreement down on paper. In any negotiation, if there are still points of disagreement, none of those points of agreement are going to go forward. Unless all parts of the deal are agreed to, there is no deal.

Second, what the Republicans call "upping the ante" (discussions on increased taxes on the wealthy) was simply returning to issues that had not been settled because Republicans had refused to negotiate them up front. Tax fairness were points of a deal that Democrats would insist on addressing, but that Obama had let slide during negotiations to get a buy in from Republicans. This is a piss poor negotiating strategy and could be considered a failure of leadership, but not in the way you mean it. You expected Obama to simply cave. That would have been a real failure in leadership.

Ken Blanchard

Bill and Donald: maybe you two need to get your story straight. The Republicans wouldn't take a deal when it was lying on the table AND there was no deal. Glad we cleared that up.

Both of you are completely immune to the evidence. Must be comforting.

Billl Fleming

KB, Don and I don't know any more, or any less about this than you do. But the one thing we all seem to agree on is that deal or no deal the GOP boys are the ones who walked away from the table.

Ken Blanchard

Bill: The last Social Security fix was accomplished when Bill Clinton made a deal with Bob Dole. Dole agreed to support the President and the Pres agreed that the Democrats wouldn't use the issue to demonize Republicans. Clinton did not honor the agreement. Film at eleven. When Dole confronted him later, Clinton said: "you do what you gotta do." That was the last amicable agreement on this issue.

For the Republicans to make a deal with Obama, they had to have some confidence that he wouldn't turn around and betray them. He did have a deal and tried to get it back later. By then he had destroyed any confidence they might have had in his word. Obama was the only one who could have brokered a deal. He had one and then he blew it out of arrogance. That is what the story above tells us.

Bill Fleming

The time to get upset with someone is after they break the deal they made, not before, KW. I stand by my argument. The GOP walked away from the deal and now want to blame their behavior on Obama. There is an element of risk in every decision. If they had made the deal and then experienced some treachery, you would perhaps have something to piss and moan about. But this way, not so much. It just looks like a lot of crock-odile tears. ;^)

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