I don’t think President Obama wants to go down as the worst president in history, do you?
Well, that’s what going over the fiscal cliff will make him. And that’s why the Republicans have a lot a leverage.
The massive spending cuts and tax increases set to kick in January 2 will cause a second recession, from which we may not emerge for many months. The economy may not really get going for years. Obama will have presided over two terms of economic disaster. It will ruin his legacy, and sow the seeds for a major Republican revival.
Republican revival? But the Republicans are going to get blamed, you say.
They will, in the short run. But in the end, it will be the president who failed to somehow make a deal. Presidents are ultimately responsible for their presidencies. The good ones tame their enemies, pick off some of them and make them allies, and get a good result. The bad ones go over fiscal cliffs.
The history books will say that Obama had to deal with a recalcitrant Congress. That will be the second thing school kids learn. But the first thing they will learn is that Obama sucked.
I still believe, despite the results of the 2012 election, that voters in the end blame those in power for wielding power ineffectively. Get out the vote operations and a charismatic candidate can only buy you so much time against reality.
The massive spending cuts will also eviscerate the U.S. military, resulting in bolder actions by our enemies that will make Obama seem weak and pitiful. Not only will the president’s economic record implode, but his foreign policy will be hamstrung. After all, we get stuff done in the world, ultimately, because people are afraid of us. Or they respect us, which is the same thing.
Of course, Speaker John Boehner, always one to let his emotions get the best of him, opened the post-election season by pre-caving with statements suggesting that Obama had won a mandate.
Obama hasn’t won any mandate. His election was about little other than villainizing his opponent. Just because voters in exit polls said they wanted taxes to go up on the rich doesn’t mean that’s why they voted for Obama.
As former Bush economic adviser Keith Hennessey notes, “the president is bluffing.” Obama cares much more about his second term agenda – whatever it might be – than he does about getting the chance to blame Republicans for the fiscal cliff.
Obama will hardly be able to tie the economy up in knots with further regulations, federal programs, and other infringements on freedom and free enterprise – the essence of his philosophy – if he doesn’t have the economy on at least a stable footing. If the economy doesn’t seriously pick up, a restive populace may even get an appetite for rolling back Obamacare, his only acheivement.
Taxes, of course, are going to go up. But Republicans have a lot of say about how, and by how much, this will happen. And they can take steps to ensure that taxes don’t rise unless spending and entitlements get an epoch haircut.
Obama’s opening salvo in the fiscal cliff negotiations yesterday stirred shock among Republicans because he was asking for everything he wants, and even seemed to up the ante.
Do Republicans not understand negotiations? You propose the stars, and then ultimately accept the moon.
But as long as Republicans don’t understand the power they have, they’ll never get off the launchpad.