More reporting confirms that President Obama’s hard stance on the fiscal cliff is a reality. Obama is looking to drive his election victory home by only giving Republicans what they’ve earned on the fiscal cliff.
As Politico reported in a story titled Why Obama isn’t Caving, “But if the 2012 election increased the president’s comfort with public emotion, it also strengthened his desire to ensure that the GOP — a party that has lost the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections — doesn’t get a better deal than they have earned.”
Politico is the second non-liberal outlet in the last two days to report that President Obama is taking a hard line with House Republicans on the fiscal cliff. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the president told Speaker Boehner that he would get nothing in the fiscal cliff negotiations. After Boehner’s Plan B imploded, the president spoke to the media and reduced his offer to the Republicans.
Many on the left jumped the gun and accused Obama of caving based on their own fears and media accounts that were sourced to House Republicans.
Obama is willing to compromise, but there is a difference between a compromise and a cave. In compromise, you give something to get something. A cave occurs when one side gives the other everything it wants. An example of a cave occurred almost one year ago today when House Republicans gave Obama everything he wanted by extending the payroll tax cut.
People keep comparing the fiscal cliff negotiations to 2010, when they should be looking at last year for a more appropriate comparison. Republicans were hoping they would get 2010 Obama. Instead, they got 2011 Obama times ten. The president’s reelection victory has given him an exponential increase in strength, leverage and political capital.
While Boehner and the House Republicans are mired in their standard dysfunction, President Obama is at the height of his powers. The more Republicans misbehave, the lower Obama’s offer to them goes. Notice the shift in authority, Obama is deciding what or if a deal gets done. The days of House Republicans dictating their terms to Obama look to be long gone. (Those days actually ended in 2011, but some people refuse to see it.)
Obama is going to be the one to determine if Republicans get anything at all.
Based on their current behavior House Republicans have earned nothing, which is exactly what the president is offering them.