With the Fiscal Cliff looming, and with a deal so close, this is precisely the time when petty politics should be anathema.
In Wednesday’s (December 19, 2012) press conference, President Barack Obama accused GOP lawmakers of putting their unwillingness to work with him ahead of what’s best for the country.
“…if they’re not worried about who’s winning and who’s losing, you know, that they score a point on the president, that they extract that last little concession, that they — that they — you know — you know, force him to do something he really doesn’t want to do just for the heck of it, and they focus on actually what’s good for the country, I actually think we can get this done.”
The President himself, over the past week and indeed earlier in that same address, acknowledged that House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican, who has met personally with the President several times over the last several weeks, are close to a deal, with the main sticking point being $200-300 billion of increased revenue. The President’s above statement, however, was what viewers left the news conference with. CNN’s text alert following the President’s news conference read as follows:
“CNN Breaking News – Obama says GOP is too focused on getting better of him in fiscal cliff talks than doing what’s best for the country.”
Speaker Boehner, in response, offered a brief statement later that evening, stating that the President should support his Plan B, which is very far away from the proposals that the President and the Speaker have offered privately. It should be noted that it is likely that Plan B likely lacks even the Republican support to make it out of the House.
President Obama’s statement that impasse on Fiscal Cliff negotiations are a result of a GOP vendetta against his person rather than smart policy is probably correct, but that doesn’t make it good politics. A 30 minute news conference yesterday, where the President addressed gun control in response to the Newtown massacres, immigration reform, and energy reform in addition to a progress report on the Fiscal Cliff was summarized by a trusted national news outlet as “this conversation persists because of Republican bad behavior.” There was no possible response besides outrage from leading GOP lawmakers, and American taxpayers will likely suffer because of the President’s frustrated slip of the tongue.
Democrats and Republicans are closer to striking a deficit deal than they have been since Barack Obama’s inauguration. With the Fiscal Cliff looming, and with a deal so close, this is precisely the time when petty politics should be anathema. As Chief Executive of the United States, the President made a dire mistake by letting people see him sweat. Assuming that at least a majority of United States elected officials can see the forest in spite of the trees, a deal may still be reached by Christmas. But that may all come down to the perception of who’s scoring the most points, which indicates a genuine lack of respect for one’s friends across the aisle, so to speak.
Here’s hoping somebody can step up and be the bigger man, and that we can find an acceptable income level somewhere between $400,000 and $1,000,000 to get some more good old-fashioned revenue. I and everyone else down here in five figures don’t make anywhere close to enough to deserve a tax hike if personality conflicts prevent compromise.
Photo Credit: Medill DC