While meeting in front of the press to discuss the fiscal cliff Speaker John Boeher looked like he hated the world, but he lit up when President Obama mentioned his upcoming birthday.
The president urged cooperation and action to avoid the upcoming fiscal cliff, “I think we’re all aware that we have some urgent business to do.Our challenge is to make sure that we are able to cooperate together, work together, find some common ground, make some tough compromises, build some consensus to do the people’s business…My hope is this is going to be the beginning of a fruitful process where we’re able to come to an agreement that will reduce our deficit in a balanced way and deal with some of the long-term impediments to growth.”
After his remarks, the president reminded everyone that tomorrow is Speaker Boehner’s birthday. Obama said he didn’t want to embarrass Boehner with a cake, because they didn’t know how many candles they would need, so he wished him a happy birthday. Speaker Boehner’s expression transformed from somebody who was watching their own funeral to a big smile, and a playful nudge of the president’s arm.
John Boehner has the worst political job in America. Democrats have been signaling since the election ended that they know Boehner wants to cut a deal. His problem remains the out of control tea partiers in his own caucus who will reject any deal that involves them giving up anything. The House tea partiers want it their way, or no way. Democrats have been throwing terms around like reasonable and mainstream Republican to describe Boehner for the last ten days for a reason.
Democrats and the White House are trying to embolden Boehner against the inevitable rejection of any deal that he brings back to his caucus. Unlike the extremes on the far left and right, I think it is possible for the president and the speaker to cut a deal that doesn’t involve cuts to Social Security, but does raise revenue and let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire.
It is not only possible, but it is likely to happen because Republicans don’t have a choice.
Harry Reid has been screaming at the top of lungs that any deal that involves cuts to Social Security will not pass the Senate, but House Republicans are going to try to posture on the issue. In the end, they will cave. Republicans either have to give up their Social Security demands, or raise taxes on everyone.
House Republicans will be forced to swallow the very poisonous political cocktail that they originally intended for Obama.
John Boehner’s life is about to become a living hell. He is faced with impossible job of trying to make his tea partiers understand reality, but for one little moment today we got to see two men on who are political enemies behave like friends.
Perhaps it will dawn on Republicans someday that it would be better for them to do what the nation wants. But that day most certainly isn’t going to be today.