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WP Blames Obama For Failure Of Grand Bargain

From the Washington Post:

Obama’s evolution: Behind the failed ‘grand bargain’ on the debt

By Peter Wallsten, Lori Montgomery and Scott Wilson
Published: March 17

Republicans say those days [of the debt ceiling negotiations during last July and August] offer clear evidence that the president is fiscally reckless and determined to tax his way out of the nation’s mounting deficit and debt problems

From the White House point of view, those few days show a politically selfless president willing to rise above the partisan fray and make difficult choices for the good of the country — if only obstinate Republicans would meet him halfway.

Which, naturally, is the version we have gotten hitherto from the mainstream media.

[At a secret meeting between John Boehner and Eric Cantor and Obama in the White House on Sunday July 17th] Boehner, the old-school pol from Ohio, seemed willing to hash it out. He had met in private with the president and his aides many times. Their sessions were so sensitive — especially for the speaker, who was dealing with a House teeming with tea party rebels — that Obama’s aides were under strict orders to “protect Boehner” and not talk about his private entreaties. Obama liked Boehner; they got along well during the private sessions and a round of golf. But there was doubt in the White House as to whether the speaker could bring his party along. He “probably could not deliver a pizza,” was one administration aide’s skeptical assessment

Which somehow made it to the press, despite the supposed orders to "protect Boehner." (By the way, note how the tea party is never capitalized by the Washington Post or most of the mainstream media.)

The conversation during that brief gathering inside the Oval Office did nothing to dampen the optimism. When the trio emerged and returned to the roomful of aides, Obama appeared upbeat. “I want a deal,” he said

Secrecy would be essential as the details came together, the president told everyone. He spoke openly with Boehner about how the two sides might sell the emerging plan to their respective parties, an imposing task from either end.

“How soon can we get this drafted?” the president asked, according to notes taken during the meeting by a top Republican staff member. When Obama left, the negotiations rushed forward, staffers on both sides now energized by the prospect of a deal. Three days later, the grand bargain was cold and dead.

What happened? Obama and his advisers have cast the collapse of the talks as a Republican failure. Boehner, unable to deliver, stepped away from the deal, simple as that.

Which, again, is the version we have heard from the press.

But interviews with most of the central players in those talks — some of whom were granted anonymity to speak about the secret negotiations — as well as a review of meeting notes, e-mails and the negotiating proposals that changed hands, offer a more complicated picture of the collapse. Obama, nervous about how to defend the emerging agreement to his own Democratic base, upped the ante in a way that made it more difficult for Boehner — already facing long odds — to sell it to his party. Eventually, the president tried to put the original framework back in play, but by then it was too late. The moment of making history had passed.

Which is what we had suspected at the time. Obama never wanted a deal. He wanted to run against the Republicans and against a do nothing Republican Congress.

The actions of Obama and his staff during that period in the summer reflect the grand ambitions and the shortcomings of the president’s first term.

A president who promised to bring the country together, who confidently presented himself as the transformational figure able to make that happen, now had his chance. But, like earlier policy battles, the debt ceiling negotiations revealed a divided figure, a man who remained aloof from a Congress where he once served and that he now needed. He was caught between his own aspirations for historical significance and his inherent political caution. And he was unable to bridge a political divide that had only grown wider since he took office with a promise to change the ways of Washington, underscoring the gulf between the way he campaigned and the way he had governed.

In the end, that brief effort, described by White House officials as the most intense and consequential of Obama’s presidency, not only illuminated pitfalls in the road he had taken during the previous three years but also directed him down a different, harder-edged, more overtly partisan path that is now defining his reelection campaign

The Washington Post probably thought it was safe to put out an article that is critical of Obama on a Sunday morning in the early Spring. And it is actually critical of Obama. But the piece is so verbose (4,662 words, 102 paragraphs) and the writing so roundabout, it’s almost as impenetrable as a typical New York Times article.

Still, from the paragraphs above, you can see that the Washington Post is claiming that there was a deal, but Obama pulled back from it. And then he upped the ante. Which killed any change whatsoever for any further deal.

We believed that the time that Obama didn’t really want a deal. He just wanted to pretend to have tried to strike a deal, so that he could run against the Republicans in Congress as ‘the party of no.’

And this long article would seem to be confirmation. If anyone has the time and energy to wade through it.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, March 19th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “WP Blames Obama For Failure Of Grand Bargain”

  1. tranquil.night says:

    Well somebody from the WH needs to get down to the WaPoo and sternly remind them that The One’s job is to articulate the great utopian vision, not to manage this lowly grunt’s work!

  2. tranquil.night says:

    Listening to Rush regarding this and apparently it isn’t a random act of journalism but a source of fascination to the media now for some reason which has him curious. I’m curious if they’ll be interested in revisiting what happened on the other side of that debt battle.. the “hostage taker/terrorist/hobbit” side. Yeah, right!

    Whoop de doo, so the facts finally validate what the Conservatives already had internalized about Obama from practically the beginning of the regime. The legislation to result from that debacle is even more of a disaster. And even given the depths to which Democrats will play cynical politics is now public knowledge, I still don’t expect Boehner/McConnell and Team Establishment to be able to do any better when we have another debt ceiling showdown coming this Fall.

    Most important is to remain civil with our well-intentioned opponents who scream terrorist when they don’t get their way.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      One of the speculations is (as I predicted some years ago) that the democrat power-base is pissed at Captain Ears. This is a warning shot which, in any “normal” political theater would arouse the attention of its focus. However, it is also clear that twig-boy is blatantly ignorant and also too arrogant to understand, let alone acknowledge that he’s being sent a smoke signal.

      Rush speculated aloud that Obama has already told the democrat members that they’re on their own for campaign funding and they aren’t going to get any of his; That is is, has been and always will be about hiselection and no one else’s. Naturally, the democrat power-base in the form of Reid, Peloser, etc are of a different opinion and this news piece is a trial balloon to see what twig-boy will do over it.

      He is being flatly criticized and should the democrats, who all hate one-another anyhow, find him lacking in “team support” then Plan-B goes into effect where they all but dump support for him while trying to get back the house and entrench the senate.

      Poor strategy, but it also speaks loudly of how panicked the national socialists are given the vertical downward plunge of Obama’s poll numbers, which, of course, Reid says mean nothing (except when they do).

      Americans are pretty ticked off at the price of gas, the joblessness, and that has caused them to look a little deeper into the causes thereof and engage in more political discussion. They are learning and they are not liking what they are hearing.

    • tranquil.night says:

      Rush mentioned that apparently Bob Woodward is writing an upcoming book on last Summer’s debt ceiling showdown? Interesting because Woodward has mostly focussed on the inside workings of administrations at war lately.

      I doubt it’ll be too aggrandizing but maybe this news is preempting some of the tastier bits if that book drops around October right as there’s another debt stand-off and the elections looming. As a caller mentioned, the mainstream publications are throwing their industry and their credibility to the sewage. And no doubt that beneath the solidarity facade, there’s plenty of Democrats scared to death that Obama’s leading them to another shellacking. So it could definitely be a warning shot the rats aren’t going to stick around the Titanic this time, especially when their Captain is hoarding the financial lifeboat to save his own rear.

      If the Republican leadership has any semblance of wisdom, I’d hope they’d learn from these reveals.

      Ain’t gonna hold my breath for a return to journalistic integrity though :p

    • tranquil.night says:

      From today’s Pearls: “There are negatives galore attached to Obama, but perhaps some of you don’t see them, such is your frustration with the status of the Republican primary on your anger with the Republican establishment.”

      Well.. grassroots frustration with the establishment is because they do see the negatives clearly and believe the public does to, but cannot convince Republican leadership to be more confident in their political position.

      The debt ceiling battle.. there’s a whole months long timeline leading up to that showdown in which there was plenty of time to figure out what Obama and the Regime were doing. The Republicans had to be held to the fire at every contentious moment. At the time we told them that we knew Obama never wanted a compromise – but Cut, Cap, and Balance was offered as one anyway because it was actually a well thought out compromise to raise the ceiling thst contained elements popular across the spectrum. We told leadership they were in a strong position to lobby their case because the United States was never going to default, another lie, and that Social Security and Military Pay weren’t going to not go out (Bachmann had a bill). And we were denounced as hobbits and extremists by those in the party. Then momentum for a good bill was cut off at the knees in the Senate by those in the party, again under the vain illusion the other side wanted a compromise.

  3. canary says:

    “At a secret meeting between John Boehner and Eric Cantor and Obama in the White House on Sunday July 17th]… they got along well during the private sessions and a round of golf…

    ,,, , Obama appeared upbeat. “I want a deal,” he said…”

    I thought that particular golf game was to discuss Impeaching Obama for going to war dropping bombs in Libya without Congressional approval.

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