Republicans are pulling their hair out over what they see as a “lose-lose” situation on the “fiscal cliff” deliberations. Realizing that with the media so in the tank for Obama, Republicans will get the blame no matter what happens, some are suggesting that lawmakers rubberstamp everything the Regime wants to do so finally, they get the blame for the economic wreckage that ensues. Right now, as we speak, Pharaoh Obama is dealing with the fiscal cliff in the only way he knows how: Campaign Rallies – he’s holding a series of events to whip up his minions, exhorting them to call congressional Republicans to pressure them into making a deal with Obamacrats.
Charles Krauthammer offered his advice to Republicans last night on Fox News’ Special Report.
Via The Blaze:
“Look, Obama has never offered anything in public about entitlements. He always says he wants a discussion. And now he says after the Republicans give up their one issue on taxes, I’ll discuss a bargain next year. Of course he wants that, because that’ll be the time when the Republicans are defrocked, disrobed, and disarmed, and will have nothing to bargain with,” Krauthammer said. ”Republicans started out…by offering a peace pipe, by saying ‘we’ll raise the revenues,’ and they just had a punch in the nose this afternoon. Any Republican who buys this is a fool.”
And what of the argument that Republicans have no leverage?
“They [Democrats] imagine that Republicans have no bargaining power today,” Krauthammer said. “I say it’s true that if Republicans resist, they’ll take the blame, and that will help Democrats in the Congress, but Obama’s never running again. He doesn’t care who gets the blame. He’s gonna be the President. He’s a lame duck. He wants a successful second term. If it starts by going over the cliff, it starts with a second recession, two million unemployed, and a wrecked second term. That’s the leverage that Republicans have over Obama.”
Jim Geraghty of National Review’s Campaign Spot adds:
Obama doesn’t seem to realize that the time he had leverage with the House Republicans was before these elections, when they might have felt some pressure to “get something done” and demonstrate that they can tackle tough problems like debt and entitlements. President Obama now has much, much less leverage than he did before the elections, and all of the rallies in the world aren’t going to change that.
What is Obama going to do, denounce Republicans for not acquiescing to his agenda? He’s been doing that for four years. What, is he going to put the GOP brand in the toilet? It’s already there!
If you’re a House Republican, what incentive do you have to give ground on tax increases that you think will be damaging to the country? The only significant one is the conclusion that going over the fiscal cliff will inflict worse damage on the economy. And that’s a pretty big one, but it may or may not be worth violating the Grover Norquist pledge, infuriating the base, and giving a diehard, no-holds-barred opponent in the White House exactly what he wants.
Here’s Keith Hennessey, arguing that economic reality will force Obama to accept a deal much less to his liking than he’s letting on:
If there is no bill, the U.S. economy will probably dip into recession for much/most/all of 2013, and it’s impossible to predict whether such a recession would be short-lived.
A 2013 recession would be terrible for the country and terrible for the Obama Presidency. It would limit the President’s options across his entire policy agenda, economic and non-economic. And it could define and dominate his entire second term.
President Obama believes #1 and #2, and therefore avoiding the risk of triggering a recession with his veto is an even higher policy priority than his fiscal policy goal.
The President wants to get things done. He cares more about his own chances for policy success (across the entire breadth of his agenda, whenever he figures out what it is) than he cares about relative political blame. A scenario in which Republicans get most of the blame for a veto-triggered recession is still a loser for him if it means he can’t accomplish his second term goals.
Marc Thiessen of The Washington Post offers another point of view: Don’t cave, don’t give an inch and if that means we go off the cliff, fine – let’s jump of the damn cliff:
If GOP leaders hold the line on taxes this fall, and the Bush tax cuts expire despite their best efforts, it would not harm their reputation as the party of low taxes. But if Republicans vote proactively to raise taxes as part of a “grand bargain,” the GOP brand would be irreparably damaged. Raising taxes and losing a fight to stop automatic tax increases are two different things.
Right now, Democrats believe they have the upper hand in the fiscal standoff. Patty Murray (Wash.) — the fourth-ranking Senate Democrat and the leading champion on Capitol Hill for going over the fiscal cliff — says that Republicans are “in a real box” because “if they do nothing, those increased taxes [they oppose] will take place.” If Republicans dig in, says Murray, all Democrats need to do is “go past the December 31st deadline” and let the tax increases happen automatically.
There’s one problem with her scenario: While the Bush tax cuts expire on Dec. 31, so do a lot of tax policies the Democrats support.
Thiessen argues that letting the Bush tax cuts expire, puts Republicans in a better negotiating position in the future, “with a bipartisan agreement within reach that reforms and simplifies the tax code.”
Right now, Democrats are demanding that Republicans raise taxes while Republicans are demanding that Democrats agree to cut Social Security and Medicare spending. A grand bargain this fall, then, would mean that Republicans get to raise revenue from their own supporters (small-business job creators) in exchange for cutting spending for their own supporters (seniors). Genius! Much better to wipe the slate clean, and start over with more leverage for fundamental tax reform and structural entitlement reform.
What if we go off the fiscal cliff and Democrats still won’t negotiate? Then Republicans should make clear that they are willing to live with the higher, Clinton-era rates. It will be hard for the Democrats to paint such a scenario as an economic disaster, because letting the Bush tax cuts expire simply restores the status quo during the Clinton administration. During the campaign, President Obama repeatedly told us how he wants to “go back to the income tax rates we were paying under Bill Clinton — back when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and plenty of millionaires to boot.” Well if the Clinton tax rates were so great, let’s go back to all of the Clinton rates and relive the booming ’90s.
At least going back to the Clinton rates would put more people on the tax rolls, and give more Americans a stake in constraining government spending. It would also force all Americans — including the middle class — to pay for growing government services, instead of borrowing the money from China and passing the costs on to the next generation.
Americans had a choice this November, and they voted for bigger government. Rather shielding voters from the consequences of their decisions, let them pay for it.
Of course – that is the outcome Democrats always wanted, but shielded from voters. See Trevor Loudon: Socialists Outline Democrat’s Agenda for Next Two Years:
Diverting money from the military to social spending will be a huge part of the agenda. After all, a strong US military is the major block to world revolution.
The push will be towards universal socialist healthcare and an economy wrecking Financial Transactions Tax.
Ending poverty through massive re-distribution will be a big focus… capitalizing on the 50th anniversary of DSA founder Michael Harrington‘s famous book “The Other America,” which helped to launch Lyndon Johnson’s catastrophic and completely counter productive “War on Poverty” in the mid-1960s.
Students will be manipulated with promises of loan forgiveness. There will be a huge push for immigration reform. DSA leader Eliseo Medina, a leader of the movement, has openly boasted that this will mean eight million more Democrat Party votes.
Via The Daily Caller, Newt Gingrich said House Republicans should stop negotiating with Obama, altogether:
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that House Republicans should stop negotiating with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats on the fiscal cliff, saying that by doing so, they give Obama all of the leverage in the talks.
“One of the things I would say to House Republicans is to get a grip,” Gingrich said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
“They are the majority. They’re not the minority,” he said, enunciating the words as if explaining the concept to someone who did not understand it. “They don’t need to cave in to Obama; they don’t need to form a ‘Surrender Caucus.’”
It’s true – Republicans always legislate like they’re in the minority.
Joel Pollack of Big Government:
The fiscal cliff debate is a reprise of the TARP debate of late 2008, with the Republicans under pressure to do “something” to stave off economic collapse. This time, the threat is about a crisis that may be about to happen, rather than one that has just happened. But the game is the same. Just as Republicans were once asked to drop their principles to bail out Wall Street, now they are being asked to do the same to bail out government.
Republicans should learn from the mistake they made in TARP. Instead of giving in to short-term hysteria about saving the economy, they should ask what kind of economy they are being asked to save–a state-centered economy that cannot grow fast enough to create jobs and prosperity, or a market-centered economy that creates the most opportunities for all.
It is worth short-term shock to the former to preserve the latter.
Meanwhile, Kieth Koffler of White House Dossier shares this Report: Obama in Hawaii as Nation Goes Over the Cliff:
President Obama is reportedly scheduled to be vacationing in Hawaii on January 2, the date billions in spending cuts – and untold consequences for the economy – will kick in if a deal is not reached on the “fiscal cliff.”
According to the Hawaii Reporter, residents who live in the area of Oahu where Obama and his family vacation have been told that the usual restrictions on their movements during an Obama stay will be in place for 21 days, from December 17 through January 6.
The White House has not officially announced the vacation, and it is unclear if the travel plans are finalized or if the Obamas will be in Hawaii for the entire three-week window covered by the restrictions.
An upcoming vacation could provide subtle pressure for Obama to reach a deal, since not getting one might force him to cancel his coveted time in Hawaii. Even though the election is behind him, Obama’s advisers would probably think it too much of a public relations nightmare to have the president luxuriating in paradise while the country embarks on a season of massive pain.
AoSHQ: Boehner’s Press Conference
He just left his meeting with Turbo Tim Geitner. He seems to be throwing cold water on the talks and saying the White House isn’t taking this seriously.
Video at link…
Nice Boehner slam of Obama’s campaign events: “The country doesn’t need a victory lap – it needs leadership.”
Gateway Pundit: Mitch McConnell Slams Door on Tax Hikes, Bashes Democrats: Raising Taxes Is the “Holy Grail of Liberalism”(Video):
Mitch McConnell slammed the door on tax hikes today saying raising taxes in this economy is the last thing the government should do in America. He also slammed Democrats today on the Senate Floor.
“The only reason Democrats are insisting on raising rates is because raising rates on the so-called rich is the Holy Grail of liberalism, the Holy Grail of liberalism. Their aim isn’t job creation. They’re interested in wealth destruction.”
Damn. Sounds like Mitch gets it. Video at link.
Hot Air: Report: Obama’s “fiscal cliff” offer to Republicans calls for $1.6 trillion in new taxes and end of debt ceiling in exchange for … nothing, basically; Update: McConnell laughed out loud
Gateway Pundit: Rush Limbaugh: Republicans Need to Just Walk Away (Video)
Linked by Michelle Malkin, thanks!