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

Monthly Archives: December 2012

Republicans Continue to Cave

I love the reporting we’re seeing on the Fiscal Cliff. About what you’d expect. For the most part, it describes Democrats as being “flexible” by increasing the amount of income that won’t be subject to a tax increase.

And the press seems to be accepting the Democratic line that Republicans are trying to just ruin everything by pushing for spending cuts, and it was a “setback” when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to reduce Social Security benefits by proposing “chained CPI.”
 

THOSE EVIL REPUBLICANS!!

   
Let’s try to understand what’s going on here.

The fiscal cliff was a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. But negotiations are centering on taxes. Republicans are being forced to accept a tax increase, but the minute they put serious spending cuts on the table, they are accused of trying to screw everything up.

In fact – hold on while I get my bandages to wrap around my head to prevent it from exploding . . . okay, there . . .
 

DEMOCRATS WANT MORE SPENDING

  
Thank goodness. Head didn’t explode. I hope yours didn’t either.

That’s right, they want to forget about the fiscal cliff cuts for a couple of years, and use the tax increase to fund another year of “EMERGENCY” unemployment benefits and to prevent doctors from getting less money for Medicare patients.

Even President Obama, bless his heart, says he’d be open to Social Security cuts. But that’s only because he was willing to do it once upon a time – it would look bad to say he was for it before he was against it – and because he knows Democrats will never go for it.

And so the focus of this deal will be on taxes, and the Democrats will accept the blessing of the press for being so eminently reasonable, and Republicans will
 

CAVE IN

  
to Democrats and the Washington establishment.

Obama Appears on Meet the Press

I thought you might want to catch President Obama’s appearance on Meet the Press. He goes through all the issues – fiscal cliff, immigration, gun control, the economy, and so forth.

Mike Allen at Politico has the key takeaways on Politico Playbook in case you don’t want to watch the whole thing. Let us know what you think!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Is Obama About to Roll Over the GOP?

You have to hand it to President Obama. He appears to be on the path to obtaining his tax increase on the rich and spending cuts that may never materialize, all while fitting in his Hawaii vacation.

Republicans, after failing to pass John Boehner-crafted legislation to raise taxes on those making more than $1 million, seem on the way to having to live with something worse.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. But here is what seems to be shaping up:

Boehner crying
That Obama is so mean!

Senate Republicans will cave first, with enough of them agreeing to pass legislation that increases tax rates on those making more than $400,000 or $500,000. Unemployment benefits are extended, and the estate tax goes up less than it would have. Meanwhile, agreement on an alternative to the spending cuts called for under the Fiscal Cliff scenario is probably put off until next year, with the Cliff cuts themselves either temporarily in effect or delayed.

This would pretty much be Obama Getting His Way.

The fault for this lies with Speaker Boehner and his utter failure of imagination. It’s the problem with Republicans these days in general and was the trouble with the Romney campaign in particular: The GOP, a home of intellectual ferment in the 1980s and 1990s, is now merely reactive.

Instead of his lazy attempt to pass tax increases for those making more than $1 million, Boehner should have put together a package that encompassed spending cuts and entitlement reform while keeping tax rates from rising.

That would have attracted solid GOP support, and perhaps even some Democrats, and given the country the message that Republicans are serious about averting the Fiscal Cliff and fixing the budget and, unlike Obama, have a plan to do it.

And then the pressure would have been on Obama, not the GOP.

Instead, like Romney, Boehner seems afraid the country won’t like Republicans if they embrace and promote a conservative agenda. So he waited around to see what Obama would do. And Obama did nothing except say, “Like my proposal, sucker.”

And now Boehner indeed might have to like it.

White House Botches Schwarzkopf Statement

The White House Thursday botched a written statement honoring the 1991 Gulf War hero General Norman Schwarzkopf, having to upgrade it from a “statement by the press secretary” to one by the president.

Schwarzkopf died Thursday in Tampa at the age of 78.

While the nation and the Schwarzkopf family were surely gratified to have Jay Carney honor General Schwarzkopf on their behalf, someone in the White House with a decent sense of history – or just a decent sense of propriety – must have belatedly realized that the man who cleared Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait and gave the United States victory in war deserved a mention by the president.

Here’s how the initial statement looked, sent by the White House at 9:45 pm ET Thursday night:

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf

With the passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf, we’ve lost an American original. From his decorated service in Vietnam to the historic liberation of Kuwait and his leadership of United States Central Command, General Schwarzkopf stood tall for the country and Army he loved. Our prayers are with the Schwarzkopf family, who tonight can know that his legacy will endure in a nation that is more secure because of his patriotic service.

An hour later, a “corrected” version of the statement was dispatched, identical to the first except for this:

Statement from the President on the Passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf

The issuance of statements out of the White House is normally done carefully but is not rocket science: the important stuff is attributed to the president, the minor stuff to the press secretary. Staff probably writes most of the statements, and it’s unlikely that the president even sees all of the messages crafted for him.

Obama Schedule || Friday, December 28, 2012

3:00 pm ET || Meets with the Republican and Democratic leadership of the House and Senate

Nothing gets really done when all the leaders are in the room. But it still may be significant that they are meeting, because after the gathering ends, all their little aides will get together and try to hammer something out.

Obama’s Family Vacation for Dudes

President Obama’s just-completed five-day respite in Hawaii was the vacation some guys dream about, including an intense focus on recreation alone or with the guys and a comparatively light schedule of family-oriented events. Obama played golf three out of the five days he was on Oahu, engaging in marathon sessions of up to six hoursContinue Reading

Michelle to Remain in Hawaii, Costing Taxpayers Over $100K

President Obama will return to Washington from Hawaii Thursday while First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters plan to continue their vacation, adding at least $100,000 and probably more than $200,000 to taxpayer costs for the excursion. Instead of accompanying her husband home on Air Force One, Mrs. Obama will fly on her own AirContinue Reading

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and great happiness on the holiday. One of the real joys for me, as a Jew, has been to better understand from your comments on this website the genuine and fervent support for Israel of so many devout conservative Christians. Sometimes I think your support forContinue Reading