He's been up to his old tricks again, threatening to shut down the government if he doesn't get more spending cuts. That's the GOP and spending cuts, it's like crack cocaine for junkies or something. "Spending cuts, feeeed me!"
They literally are vampires living on the pain they cause others.
"President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) clashed during a White House meeting on Wednesday, with the Speaker telling the president that he was “not going to allow a debt-ceiling increase without doing something serious about the debt,” Boehner’s office said."
Of course Mr. Tough Guy is also doing the charming GOP move of an ultimatum backed up with nothing really. It's just a blanked demand "Do it my way or I'll hold my breath! Spending cuts! Feed me! No tax hikes except on people who aren't rich. No spending cuts for the military though!"
"Boehner asked Obama if he was proposing that Congress increase the debt limit without corresponding spending cuts, according to a readout of the meeting from the Speaker’s office. The president replied, “Yes.” At that point, Boehner told Obama, “As long as I’m around here, I’m not going to allow a debt-ceiling increase without doing something serious about the debt.”
I love the President's answer: "Yes." As I said in a previous post, this year let's just call the GOP's bluff. Are they going to allow the spending cuts for the military to kick in and the Bush tax cuts to expire? Yes? Well ok, let's take it then. I mean for $50 billion dollars in spending cuts we get the same amout of cuts in military spending and the end of the Bush tax cuts. Again, David Corn was right. Laurence O'Donnell was right-Obama totally played them last Summer.
"In making his demand for more spending cuts, Boehner staked out a clear position that House Republicans can run on this fall, and delivered a warning to Democrats who believe they have more leverage in the debate over the Bush tax rates and the looming sequester cuts to the military, which Republicans in particular abhor."
Sure he may want to "stake out a clear position" but the Democrats clearly have much better leverage. In the end this is one hostage we can shoot. Listen to Harry Reid:
"But Reid had his own message for the Speaker. The Senate leader, according to a Democratic aide, “conveyed his view that any discussion of the debt ceiling is premature until after the sequester takes effect or is replaced with a balanced agreement, and after Congress deals with the expiring Bush tax cuts.”
What might also be at work here is that the conservatives have been holding Boehner's feet to the fire again.
"Boehner’s office has described the Speaker’s position as simply an effort to begin negotiations early, well before the “fiscal cliff” at the end of the year. But there is virtually no hope of reaching an agreement in the middle of the heated campaign, and Reid signaled that he feels little urgency to act in advance."
"McConnell, who offered only tepid support for Boehner’s approach on Tuesday, notably did not mention the debt ceiling in the comments that were provided by his office after the meeting. Instead, he referred only to his push for an agreement on a student loan bill that can pass the Senate."
While most everyone agreed it was a collegial meeting Boehner's office tried to make it sound more confrontational:
"The readout from Boehner’s office suggested a more confrontational meeting. It said the Speaker also pressed the president to approve the complete Keystone oil sands pipeline and to encourage Attorney General Eric Holder to provide information congressional investigators have sought on the “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation."
This is because the House Tea Partiers are complaining.
If the Democrats play it right this is one time they have the much better hand. Long as they don't blink.