Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Obama to negotiate the debt ceiling through the media?

It's the time-tested ploy of the professional athlete at the end of his contract and looking for a big payday...bring your case and demands (all quite reasonable, of course) to the sports media, where you can talk directly to the fans, push the ownership into a corner, and get some positive coverage from writers looking to get the next big quote.

Apparently, Barack Obama is going the same route as he butts heads with Congressional Republicans on the debt ceiling:

President Barack Obama scheduled a news conference for late Wednesday morning, his first formal question-and-answer session since high-stakes debt and budget negotiations began.

Obama was expected to open with comments about spurring the economy and job growth, and touch on the deficit talks that have occupied Vice President Joe Biden and congressional leaders over the past several weeks.

Obama’s last full-blown news conference was in March...Obama has been stepping up his promotion of job creation initiatives amid evidence that the state of the economy has weakened his job approval standing with the public. Obama, no doubt, will also have to address the status of negotiations with Congress over long-term deficit reduction and an increase in the nation’s borrowing limit.

Looks as if Obama, who has been ducking the media for over three months, believes he can use them as a weapon against Republicans, assured they will carry his message - which will consist of demonizing conservatives while asking for just "a little more time' to turn the economy around (what, you expected a plan? Please...) - to the American people essentially verbatim.

And maybe he's right. But the problem with negotiating through the media, as many of the aforementioned athletes can tell you, is that sometimes instead of making ownership more pliable, it instead forces them to dig their heels in, out of either emotional resentment or as a long-term business strategy (if it succeeds once, you can bet it will be repeated).

And since the Republicans hold the House, and they are under limited contract to the American people based on their ability to perform to their specifications, well...I wouldn't be surprised to see this tactic backfire.  Both parties have way to much to lose if they fold to a media-generated dog and pony show at this critical juncture... 

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