Obama’s sudden assertiveness may not be so sudden.

Remember the debt ceiling battle. On July 30, a day before the “agreement” Boehner and McConnell made it clear in public statements that there were six non-negotiable demands which they could not budge on. On July 31 Obama/Reid/Pelosi and McConnell/Boehner had a deal, but the word was that Obama “caved”. Did he? The evidence indicates otherwise.

1) Either a Constitutional Amendment MUST BE passed REQUIRING a balanced budget OR there must be a commitment that the amendment would be fully vetted in the House and Senate by appropriate committees and then fully debated on the floor of each house in September. Was that in the deal? No.

2) A phased in debt ceiling increase would be requiring at least two and perhaps three votes in the House and Senate with Obama requesting an increase in the ceiling each time. Suggested dates were in January and August of 2012. The drama of July and August 2011 would be repeated each time. Was that in the deal? No.

3) Future deficit/debt negotiations would be taken up as ordinary business. There would be no binding joint select committee ala the Simpson-Bowles Task Force that was supposed to be binding but the GOP blocked it. Was that in the deal? No.

4) To meet the cost associated with the debt ceiling increase and in future debt reduction negotiations, the Pentagon and Intelligence budgets must be off the table, and medicare/medicaid, social security, must be on the table. Was that in the deal? No.

5) All cuts would have to be heavily front loaded with a least one third from the budgets of 2012 and 2012. Was that in the deal? No.

6) Revenue increases could not be on the table. Deficit reduction must come exclusively from cutting costs. Was that in the deal? No.

How did this happen? I suspect it happened because Obama made it clear that he was not going to allow the U.S. to default.That he would invoke the 14th amendment and instruct the Treasury to issue new bonds while honoring all debt.

It’s the only explanation for the GOP’s abandoning of their non-negotiables. Why was all of the crowing from the GOP? My guess….that was part of the face saving in the deal. They got to claim they had forced through cuts, and had kept tax increases off the table (although the Democrats had agreed to both conditions long before). So the White House kept quiet and quietly defused a crisis.

OBAMA GOT HIT IN THE POLLS IN THIS BECAUSE OF THE WAY IT WAS REPORTED. Now, it would appear that the days of facing saving maneuvers are gone.

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Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican (from 1965 through 2004)who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. I was a professor of history, and am now a researcher and gentleman farmer. My political positions are mixed - thus my preferred identification as a Progressive Independent. I am conservative on matters of military intervention, in regard to abortion, immigration, the public school system, gun rights, taxation, voter ID. But I am a traditional conservative, a Buckley, National Review, Eisenhower Republican..... I am a liberal on matters of health care care, funding education, taxation (yes one can be both liberal and conservative on this), civil rights, and alternative energy development/climate change.

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Good round up on these issues. Too bad most Americans are too lazy to even think on this level. I agreed with your premise way back when it was negotiated. Not that I necessarily trust Standard and Poors but they clearly laid the blame for the credit downgrade on the republican side of congress. Obama expects all Americans to be as smart as he is and they truly are not, he needs to work on providing clearer and more succinct explanations for his actions. If he did, he would be carrying way more of the public with him.


Murph, Obama basically called their bluff. He knew that the GOP wouldn’t actually let a default happen. That would have been the end for the republican party. To be responsible for causing world wide financial panic and totally destroying America’s credit rating would have been the last straw for them as a viable political party. If, it sure would have hurt them badly in any future elections. I knew they would fold at the last minute.

KQµårk 死神

Great points.

Absolutely no sacred cows were slaughtered which to me made the budget a push but Obama did win the grand strategy because got the cuts back loaded and he got the debt ceiling nonsense passed through the election.

Again the problem was the media focus on the ugly process and the typical group think among progressives that invoking the 14th was a better solution. Why so the Dems would have to bring the ugly fight into the election?


Props Murph on a great debut article and welcome to The Planet!

The representation of the deficit deal and of Obama himself, which you have logically constructed, reflects a reality that has been ignored again and again…purposely by many including the Firebaggers on the left.

In the budget deal earlier this year, after the dust had cleared, it became apparent that Obama had negotiated “cuts” that weren’t really cuts and bested the Repubs who once again were threatening to shut down the government.

In his deal with Repubs after the election, he was still reeling from the public knocking him back on his heels and with the Repubs holding 3 million Americans hostage by refusing Unemployment Insurance extensions, he did agree to extending the Bush tax cuts (a critical reason why he did so that most of the Obama-haters on the Left always omit when wailing, “He renewed the Bush tax cuts!”) but in exchange got a great deal of benefits for the poor and middle class, far more for them than the wealthy got from two years more of tax cuts.

Time and again, Obama has ultimately gotten the best of the Repubs in situations but you wouldn’t know that from all the wailing of the purist pundits on the Left.

The Anti-Obama crowd on the Left and the TeaBaggers have much in common including having their heads so buried up their ass..umptions that they couldn’t see reality if it tapped them on the shoulder.

They have their dogma and they need to believe in it so they bury themselves in denial, they are incapable of seeing facts that don’t fit into their preconceived notions of the way things are and what Obama has done as President.

It would be sweet if the Occupy Wall Street protests do become a movement that the majority of Americans support because if that was to happen, if it was to help re-elect Obama and bring in a Dem Congress in 2012, by keeping that movement’s mandate strong, Obama could accomplish some really huge and important things that serve the majority in his second term.



Whether the deal was “good” or not all depends on this stupid “super committee”.

Obama has vowed to let the Bush tax cuts expire IF the new committee doesn’t produce a bill with serious “tax reform”.

Well, let’s say they do. They get a “tax reform” bill out of Congress, which is really their main duty, but it’s soft and does nothign to really raise new revenue.

Will Obama sign it? What if it “works” but extends the Bush tax cuts? Will Obama veto it? This is definitely not over yet and I feel another “hostage situation” is looming.


Be not so cynical. If the cuts expire, we gain $4 TRILLION in new revenue. If the bill passes – and it will NOT – we get at least $1.9 from retiring the upper income cuts. BUT the House and Senate up for election or re-election will run fast and furiously on the refusal of the House to extend cuts for the middle class working families. That will matter – and there are eddies of indication that some of the GOP are very aware that willingness or not to protect working people seals their fate.

The art of the deal is Obama’s very best thing. Makes Trump look like an expert at Candyland. By now you ought to know that some of the things that make you mad at him – signing statements – have been so misinterpreted as to be laughable. You and I had that discussion.

He has a plan. It is a fixable plan – so if nothing comes from the BaggerGOP, then come January 2013, there WILL be renewal IF we have him and both houses with real strength. Polls show really strong things for his plan – see The People’s View at:


This is based on the very reliable Pew poll that came out Sept. 26. Even the GOP majority want tax cuts for those above $250,000 to EXPIRE. Constant drum beats on this message will make the day.

Keep working to tell people the truth. And VOTE even for the worst Dem ever – it takes back the House, and that is critical!


choice, I feel I have to agree with you even though a part of me says I shouldn’t. I try not to be cynical. I just don’t trust authority, regardless of what letter is in front of their name. But the President has proven me happily wrong so many times that I really need to start cutting him more slack on domestic issues. The fact he sincerely tries puts him head and shoulders above the last 4 guys.

Most of my disagreements with the President have been on foreign policy issues anyways.


Well, put C’Lady “The art of the deal” is well put and with your understanding of some agreements and your explanations of them, I have learned to fully appreciate his (PBO’s) deftness at the art of the deal. I have learned a great deal from you, The People’s View, Milt Shook at “Please Cut the Crap” http://pleasecutthecrap.typepad.com/main/ and others. But we know that reasoning and reasonable people do not make good pudnuts. do they? Goldie Taylor and Joy Reid do get on the Tube once in awhile but they are the exception and not the rule and even they are never giving ample time to actually discuss policy in any depth. I once saw Joy/Joyce Reid on CNN roll her eyes and smirk a bit after 2 questions and 2 minutes before it was a “Well, we have to leave it there, thanks Joyce.”
I could almost see her saying to herself, “Yep, policy discussions in 2 minutes, thanks Wolfie.”


Oh wow bito – did not know about “cut the crap” thank you!

The sudden (at least to me, but I’m always the last to know) rise of thoughtful and reflective blogs in addition to this one I call “home” has been very interesting and heartening. It gives me hope.

I think today is the travel day for the Van Jones-Robert Borosage show. What comes out of that event will be widely covered, and with Van involved, I’m hoping it won’t be the usual leftie breast beating. Damned if I was going to pay out $250 per night, $250 more for registration, and a plane ticket to listen to a roomful of highly employed people whine about “Obama’s not doing enough for the economy”. Which is why, of course, they made the conference unaccessible to the unemployed, working people, non-profit sector people…again.

If they held this at a university and offered dorm space it might have worked, but then the bitterati would not have come. That WOULD have made it more fun, definitely more productive, but would not attract as much media who live for the griping.

Oh, well…


“bitterati” ! 😆 Good one, c’lady.


“You talking to me?” 😆


Bito, I share your frustration with the 2-minute segment! It is especially bad on MSNBC at night when they must have such a rigid schedule (to be able to get the advertisements in) that the most serious of subjects gets short shrift!

Well, I have to leave it here…. 🙂


I don’t understand, PBO had 2 years to pass anything he wanted in the Senate, didn’t he?

**UPDATED: Barack Obama and the myth of the progressive ‘majorities’

To progressives who complain about Barack Obama “squandering” the progressive majorities he supposedly had going for him when he was elected president, I refer you to the following chart…..


Hmmm, maybe not.


What worries me most about the bush tax cuts is if a republican gets the white house in 2012. Of course, a lot depends on what sort of Congress we are going to end up with. But right now, we could sure use those tax dollars that the obscenely rich are hoarding.


Right on the money, Murph! I do policy parsing to give people “talking points” for grassroots advocacy. This is absolutely accurate, and thank you for posting it. This was equally true of the “lame duck” agreement last December – what the president got for ordinary Americans was amazing. Letting the tax cuts for the rich ride another two years was only 14% of the agreement, but both “progressive” and MSM reported that the president caved. NOT true.

What is also not clear to the average person is that huge numbers of programs are actually almost totally immune from the cuts. They are the elements of the Pay-Go Act of 2010 that holds Social Security, disability, Medicare benefits, aid to people transitioning from welfare to work, VA benefits, food stamps, and on and on all off the table for the first round. In the Supercommittee any changes have to be approved by a 7-vote margin minimally, and the Dems won’t do that to things that provide benefits. Then EVEN IF the “hammer” falls these programs are still immune.

What IS vulnerable will be things called “discretionary” meaning they get their funds allocated every year. That includes Head Start, WIC nutrition programs, and the entire new health care plan. But there are moves to make cuts that will NOT endanger the programs, and Congress can make changes in 2013 to restore what is needed. What is fascinating is that every dime of defense funding and all subsidies to farms are discretionary. Both of these benefit huge interests, not the ordinary person. Think how changing Farm Aid to support small family farms instead of commodity growers would affect us. Yes commodity prices would likely rise making high fructose corn syrup and granules more expensive than – gasp – better and healthier substances. This needs to be examined carefully – we do NOT want the poor to get smacked with high food prices just as we are tackling urban food deserts – but it would not be horrible if soda pop was now more expensive than milk.

Anyway – you are correct in assessing the stability this president has shown on smart negotiating and preservation of REAL control over policy. I realize he is abetted by having one house more secure than Clinton had, but I recall Clinton caving on everything EVEN the first two years. And yet progressives think he and Hillary were and would have been better presidents. Not remotely true. Obama is one tough negotiator. This budget agreement is very good for ordinary people.

That’s leadership.


The quality if journalism has degenerated to that of TV situation comedies and football commentators.

In 2011, the Watergate investigation could not occur.


Even back then, TV news relied on newspaper reporters for the heavy investigative journalism, which is how Watergate became news in the first place. The TV news of the day would have never thought to look into it except that it was already being printed in the Washington Post.
Today, a story like Watergate would be covered by news websites and bloggers such as here, at PlanetPOV. The best example is the way the current student protests are being handled — not so much by the MSM.


PBO’s assertiveness is not ‘sudden’. lol

Those ‘non negotiales’ are not there. lol.

With whom did PBO negotiate in the 111th Congress?
With the Democrats in Congress. He did dthat in order to get decent laws passed. If he did not negotiate with his own party — nothing would have passed.


Great post, Murph. I hadn’t kept up with those details during that grotesque nightmare. I think people are always judging Obama using a primitive set of macho values and he doesn’t fit into that structure at all.


So true about the macho values, E’Cat ……… I find an intelligent, compassionate man far more sexy than a gun-slinging cowboy 🙂


I am a great fan of mysteries, and I have always been drawn to the strong, steadfast, and quiet types of detectives. The brazen noir characters creep me out.

Conservatives used to value the strong, silent types – Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart types – but wound up preferring the table thumpers. They’d have kicked Honest Abe off their team for sure.


Murph, that was excellent! It was so frustrating when I saw John “Orange Man” Boehner run to the closest microphone to say that he was soooo happy with the deal because he got 98% of everything he wanted. Face-saving indeed!

It was apparent, when the deal was completed, that President Obama won this fight. If all the naysayers had read the White House explanation of the bill, they would have seen it. But you know how the MSM is…bashing the President, no matter what!

I saved an email from the White House that I hope will post correctly.


“After a long and heated debate, President Obama has signed into law a compromise that will reduce the deficit and avert a default on our obligations that would have devastated our economy.

To help explain this compromise, we’ve put together an infographic that explains what’s in it and what will happen in the coming months:

See the Graphic at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/03/myths-and-facts-about-debt-ceiling-compromise

On Tuesday, President Obama spoke about the compromise and urged Congress to immediately take steps to create new jobs, raise wages, and spur economic growth.

Watch the video and read the President’s statement.”


Since the signing of this bill into law, the MSM has been very predictably silent on the subject. No surprise there!


I never thought I’d agree with Rush – but he tore strips off the GOP when he read the agreement. He excoriated all the party for caving to Obama! Why the MSM paid no attention to his bombast when it’s USUALLY ready to parrot what he says just shows they had to find ways to try to make Obama look bad.

Did not work.


C’Lady, that is one of the sad things about where we are at in politics today. Just a smell of ANYTHING close to a compromise is called “caving” by the screamers on the fringes. If the deliberations when they were writing the Constitution had been televised, it would have never have been written.


Excellent deconstruction,Murph – isn’t it sad that this is the sort of thing that ‘respected journalists’ used to be so good at reporting? Nowadays …. crickets 🙄 No wonder the RW trot out their lies (ooops – version of events) and likewise the Unsatisfied Purist Left. A pox on all their houses – GOTV and get President Obama a second term!!

A Canadian Neighbour Who’s Really Scared of What’s Happening Down There!!