Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Debt Ceiling Debacle: Another Hand Played Poorly By Obama

John Podhoretz mocks Obama's negotiating skills. I mock his poker playing skills. Either way, The Chief is a Chump.

Remember his opening bid? Remember his warning to Eric Cantor that there had better be tax hikes in the deal ("Don't call my bluff, Eric")?

...just 10 days after Obama insisted he would not agree to any deal without tax hikes -- he assented to a deal without any tax hikes.

"I'm going to the American people on this," Obama told Cantor. And he did. He gave three press conferences and a nationally televised prime-time address from the Oval Office. And over the course of the week he did so, his poll numbers plunged 10 points.

...the fact is Obama's appearances not only didn't help him, but seem to have driven the debate further to the right.

And then, just when our Vulcan-esque leader had the Republicans ready to fold before this weak hand, he decided to raise the ante:

News reports in the middle of July suggested that Republican negotiators had agreed in principle to new revenues up to $800 billion in the so-called "grand bargain" Obama had sought.

That would have been a huge accomplishment for Obama, because he would have split the Republican coalition and brought about a political civil war in the rival political party.

But the president increased his revenue demand by $400 billion. In other words, and surely inadvertently, he tanked his own "grand bargain."

This was a negotiating strategy he apparently picked up from Daffy Duck, who once ended a rapid-fire exchange at gunpoint with Bugs Bunny by turning the rifle on himself and pulling the trigger.

The Republicans walked. He raged. And nine days later, he was standing there endorsing a deal that didn't feature $800 billion in revenues. It didn't feature 800 cents in revenues. It featured nothing.

So the Republicans saw his bid, and raised him through the roof. And Obama, looking at a weak hand, had no choice but to fold.

As I have begged before - won't somebody, please - please! - get me into this guy's poker circle? I could use a few extra tax-free dollars....

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