Night School for the Professional Left: Lessons from the Debt Limit Negotiations

Now that the Republicans have sounded retreat, maybe it's time for the Professional Left to take a lesson. As the President said in his press conference Monday, "Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to." But I think Lawrence O'Donnell is a much better and more entertaining teacher on this than myself. So here are the first assignments for our Night School for the Professional Left: watch these segments from The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.

From Monday - Obama makes Boehner cry and retreat. The most masterful rope-a-dope ever:

Additional reading on The People's View: Debt Limit Truth or Dare: Why Obama is Turning Up the Heat on Boehner.

From Tuesday - as Mitch McConnell surrendered and proposed handing the president what he wanted originally, a debt limit increase bill with no mandatory add-ons. Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to:

Additional reading on The People's View: Mitch McConnell Surrenders.

Let me summarize real quick: The President never was going to "give away the store." Yes, he was prepared to make a tough, honest deal with short term pain for both sides, but he also knew that Republicans would not - actually could not agree to anything that was reasonable. So he offered them something that included both entitlement reform and tax reform, knowing full well that the GOP would back off at any whiff of making the tax code more fair, because if they agree to anything reasonable - hell, if they agree to anything at all with President Obama - their "base" would eat them for breakfast and then spit them out. At the end, the President gets exactly what he wanted from the beginning, a clean increase in the debt ceiling, and he gets the House and Senate GOP leadership to crush the hopes of the Tea Party by making them admit that the debt limit must - must - be raised.

In fact, right now McConnell has not only surrendered but is threatening his own party that if they don't surrender wholesale as well, the consequences - both for the country and for them politically - would be dire. He is terrified that people would even think that Republicans bear any responsibility for governing at all:
“He will say Republicans are making the economy worse,” Mr. McConnell, who is recognized as one of his party’s top political strategists, said in an interview with the radio host Laura Ingraham.

“It is an argument that he could have a good chance of winning and all of the sudden we have co-ownership of the economy. That is a very bad position going into the election.”
Despite them campaigning on how they will cut spending and make the economy better, the GOP has absolutely no intention of ever governing and taking responsibility. Because they know they are horrible at it, and they don't want people to pay attention to that.

But their problem is that Obama has their number. He is a hundred steps ahead of them. He knew from the beginning that the roars of a paper tiger were not going to be able to rattle anything. But the roars of the paper tiger did give him an opportunity to strip bare the fact that the GOP is not serious about deficit reduction, nor are they serious about governing and solving problems.

Obama knew this. But of course, Your Royal Highnesses in the Firebagging Professional Left figured that your political acumen was better than the first black president of the Harvard Law Review and the United States, who, mind you, rose from a State Senator to being President in about four years' time. But hey, he is the naive one. He is a bad negotiator. And you, whose solution to everything is whining, screaming, and "bullypulpitting" knew better.

Yes, I know. Obama is a sellout. I mean, you guys have proof. Obama still has his podium from his inauguration, and it's still intact. That is proof that he hasn't pounded it enough! Ergo, sellout! Betrayal! Yes, I get. But seriously,


That is all. Please do your homework next time, PL students.

Like what you read? Chip in, keep us going.

552,462 Dumbest Motherfuckers in the World, and Jane Hamsher's Pathetic Meltdown

A Whole New Ballgame (Election News Roundup)