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.
WHAT WERE THE GOP NON-NEGOTIABLES?
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.