Monday, December 3, 2012

Geithner: Republicans May Need a Little More Time

     The GOP is flabbergasted at the President's offer and insulted. They didn't like much about his offer, and didn't appreciate it being offered to them by Geithner of all people. This was part of the "insult" in their minds.

     In 2011, Obama gave them lots of face time, but this time he has Geithner come out as the UPS man and they feel dissed. It's like Bill Parcells would say: 'Ya are what ya are.' The Republicans are still in denial about this. Some seem to get it. Bill Kristol said a few weeks ago on Fox that the Republicans are going to have to cave to Obama a lot more than they might think, as, elections have consequences.

   No doubt, having Geithner give the offer was not a mistake. One of the many lessons Obama has learned the hard way is to not be so accessible this time and not give away his own stature.  Yet, this feeling of righteous indignation shows that the GOP just doesn't get it. They lost the election. And it wasn't close. There really was no silver lining. They have been pointing to the House. Sure, losing "only" 8 seats and losing by 540,000 votes is a "mandate" for Republicans these days. Remember when a mandate was Reagan winning 49 states and 523 electoral votes-which was the same as Nixon won in 1972? Now a mandate is losing seats but not enough to lose their majority in the House while losing badly in both the Senate and the Presidential race.

   "Right-wingers are in an uproar over the White House's budget offer, which John Boehner says left him "flabbergasted." Outraged pundits like Joe Scarborough, Charles Krauthammer, and Newt Gingrich are saying that Republicans should "walk away" from negotiations. Boehner has come close to that position himself, saying of the talks: "We're nowhere."

   "With all due respect, Sir: Speak for yourself."

    "Democrats are somewhere - somewhere very specific. They're where the voters are, with a program that includes short-term stimulus spending and relatively modest tax increases for higher levels of income. And yet the Republicans are threatening to run from the will of the electorate, a will that was expressed very clearly this November."

    "But where, in the words of the old song, are they gonna run to?"

    "A walkout would turn House Republicans into democracy's "runaway brides" - except nobody asked for their hand. As a detailed analysis by David Wasserman of the Cook Report shows, the GOP didn't just lose the Presidential and Senatorial votes this year. They lost the popular vote for the House, too. To the extent that Republicans have any right to be at the negotiating table at all, it's as junior partners.

    At this point denial really isn't just a river in Egypt. The GOP is not being honest with themselves.

    "And yet we have reached the winter of Mr. Krauthammer's disrespectful discontent. "It's not just a bad deal," said Krauthammer, it's "really an insulting deal."

    "Robert E. Lee was offered easier terms at Appomattox," Krauthammer added, "and he lost the Civil War."

     "Mr. Krauthammer might like to bone up on his American history: Lee's army was disbanded at the Appomattox courthouse, and all acts of insurrection ceased. It's true that his officers were allowed keep their horses and sidearms, and to return home ... but they were on parole."

     "Parole: That's a good way to look at the current state of the Republican Party. They lost the Presidency by 4,500,000 votes, the Senate by nearly 13 million votes - and lost the House by 570,000 votes. Their influence over the Senate derives mainly from their routine abuse of Senatorial procedures, while their control of the House is the product of abusive gerrymandering."

     As the party that's long since abdicated it's proud history as the party of Lincoln, it's perhaps appropriate that GOP pundits are invoking Robert E. Lee  to sympathize with them.

     So Geithner really needled them yesterday, Hey. The balls in their court. This is hard for them. They may need a little more time to move past the stages of grief, anger, disbelief, denial... They aren't yet at acceptance. The real insult was what the voters did to them November 6.

     "Remember how outraged the class bully used to get whenever somebody fought back? That's what this Republican indignation looks like."

     "The President's finally using experience, and the fruits of a decisive Democratic victory, to negotiate from a tougher stance. And Tim Geithner, whatever his other shortcomings, is proving adept at delivering the Administration's new and firmer messages. "The ball really is with them now," Geithner said this weekend of House Republicans. "They're in a hard place ... This is very difficult for them. And we might need to give them a little more time ..."

     Yeah. Let's give em time. However, there is no "stalemate" in the sense that Boehner was trying to claim yesterday. Stalemate is when each side has roughly even strength:

      "The GOP is boxed in - as long as Democrats hang tough. If Republicans really "run" from those talks, that will trigger the "fiscal cliff" provisions they've been describing in such apocalyptic terms. They can't win: Either the "cliff" apocalypse won't come, which will make them liars, or it will - which will make them destroyers of the economy."

       "And yet John Boehner says talks are at a "stalemate." Maybe he hasn't read the polls. Politically speaking, Mr. Boehner, if there's a stalemate you lose. The only people that are "nowhere" right now are those who aren't paying attention to what voters - including a majority of their own party's members - want them to do."

      "If Republicans refuse to negotiate from the White House proposal, they'll be refusing to negotiate with the electorate. They shouldn't feel insulted by that offer. The real insult - the one that really must sting - is the one voters just gave them at the polls."



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