As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama’s Smart Idea: Don’t Release a Plan

Why should President Obama release a deficit cutting plan? Republicans will merely tear it to pieces.

Obama is getting pummeled for a lack of “leadership” in failing to put meat on the bones of his deficit reduction. But Republicans doth protest a little too much. I think what they really covet is something to gnash their teeth into and spit out on the Oval Office carpet.

By putting out merely a framework, Obama is keeping his proposal from becoming a stake for Republicans to lob excrement at and further polarize the discussion.

Sorry for the mixed metaphors. I get carried away.

By letting Congressional negotiators piece together their own plan, he gives them skin in the game and energizes them behind whatever emerges.

And, ladies and gentlemen, he’s taking a page out of the playbook written and conceived by George W. Bush.

I covered Bush’s policy proposals, and he rarely put out much more than “principles” for whatever government scheme his Compassionate Conservative Heart had dreamed up. This worked quite well in the case of the Medicare drug benefit, which started as a page of ideas and turned magically into a new multi-billion dollar entitlement.

For Obama, of course, this tactic also worked out nicely in the cases of Obamacare and the stimulus. He let Congress do the writing based on outline he had set forth and, lo and behold, major legislation materialized on his desk for signing.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney put it correctly today:

Leadership is not proposing a plan for the sake of having it voted up or down, and likely voted down, because it is — look, you know how this town works and how Congress works.  If an individual, whether a Democrat or Republic leader, steps forward and says, “This is my plan and solely my plan,” it makes it a lot harder for that plan to be the basis for a bipartisan compromise.

The way to reach a bipartisan compromise is in bipartisan negotiations, where a plan emerges that is the product of that negotiation and is supported by Republicans and Democrats and then presented.  Otherwise, your chances of actually achieving something diminish greatly.  And I think there is certainly plenty of history to support that idea.

Obama is working the system right, and if he gets a deficit deal, he will be able to blunt charges that he’s done nothing to reduce the deficit.

To date, those charges are correct. His policies have made the budget picture vastly worse. And his budget proposal earlier this year was a sick joke where deficit reduction is concerned, and he for weeks insisted avoid this whole deficit ceiling battle he now finds so useful in reducing the deficit.

His failure to lead has been in not pushing for major spending cuts until two and a half years into his presidency. But putting forward The Obama Plan at this point would be a distraction, not a step forward.

Anyway, if you disagree, you’ll probably enjoy this video of Charles Krauthammer taking apart Nina Totenberg. I couldn’t resist putting it up, even though it contradicts my point. She’s such a snoot – it’s hilarious to see her so unprepared.

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16 Responses to Obama’s Smart Idea: Don’t Release a Plan

  1. I sure do disagree with you Keith. Charles Krauthammer is spot on as far as I’m concerned. Didn’t like it when Bush pulled that trick with amnesty, letting the Senate Republicans do his dirty work, and it is just as wrong when Obama does the same. We have a lot of wimp Republicans in the Senate who are providing cover for Obama. I don’t know if they are afraid of him or complicit in his plan to wreck the economy, but they just tossed Cut, Cap and Balance under the bus. Michele Bachmann has more cajones than these guys. Et tu Coburn? He plunged that knife in pretty deep. Guess being Obama’s pal is higher on his list than the future of America.

    • Susan, you and I are looking at this the same way. Just because Reagan did something, or GWB did something or Bill I Didn’t Have Sexual Relations With That Women Clinton did something, doesn’t make it the right thing to do. As far as I am concerned, America needs to move away from this garbage. Either the elected do what the voters want them to do or they should be voted out until there are people that will do what is needed. Just because someone else did something or not doesn’t give us cover for our own actions or responcibility. Didn’t our mothers tell us this when we were young? “Just because your friend jumps from the train tracks does that mean you do too?” I am so tired of the RINO’s and progressives. I think we need more Bachmann’s and Allen West’s that seem focused on a plan.

    • Well, I understand your sentiments. The president has indeed failed to lead because he’s never tried to really get Congress to cut spending. But I don’t see why he has to have a detailed plan, if this is more likely to move the process backward. I think we are being fed Republican talking points, not real criticisms. Bush certainly took the lead on Social Security Reform, and did so at least initially without a specific plan. But he led, even though it failed.

  2. Krauthammer 50, Totenberg 0. She was totally exposed by a series of reasonable questions that she had no idea how to answer. Another example of how Public Broadcasting supported liberal drivel without any thought or reason to support their position. And they position themselves to be the educated class? Get a job in a diner instead of partying in the Hamptons and see how Americans really live.

  3. “They” say Obama is a GENIUS! and A MESSIAH!
    So why cant Obama just scribble a few budget numbers on a napkin and solve this mess right now… :-\

  4. Charles is smarter and would beat Totenberg by just by being in the same room. She is so programed and out of touch with reality that Charles has
    only to give her a look and shes’s lost the argument and also the plot. Love
    Charles! You were very kind to call her a snoot that is not how I refer to her:)

  5. Nothing personal, Keith, but “skin in the game” is going on the cliche list. “Lobbing excrement” had a nice OZ feel, though. You know what I think they are doing–just finding some “gang” thing no one, including them, understands and saying, “Let’s just take it, whatever, and get this ended.”

    • Star, I think you may be right about what’s going on.

      And, duly noted, “skin in the game” is a cliche, never to litter these pages again. Was trying to echo “game” with “playbook” in the next graph, but still . . .

  6. So where is the Democrats plan ?

    You point at the Bush strategy but in that case the GOP put forward plans …

    Where is the Dems plan/s ?

  7. When is Mr Obama going to start driving an electric car..

    When is the Federal Government going to start issuing electric cars in place of the Cadillac Limo’s that they by from Government Motors by the thousands.

    When is Mrs Obama going to start taking the kids to school in an electric car.

    When are the Senators and Congressmen going to start driving electric cars.

    Mr Obama wants the electric car to be a success but he does nothing to promote it except to stand at the teleprompter and wail about how good the electric car is and how it will be affordable to one and all regardless if they are a Janitor or CEO of a big corporation.