President Obama almost certainly missed his chance to strike a “grand bargain” with Republicans on the deficit, particularly after having taken taxes out of the mix by raising them by $600 billion unilaterally at the beginning of the year, according to Politico.
Republicans, according to the piece, are serious when they say they are finished hiking taxes. And that puts Obama, despite his sudden charm explosion, in a serious bind.
From the article:
Obama would have to persuade Republicans to vote for a tax increase for the second time in less than one year. Can you imagine Boehner and his troops heading into the 2014 midterm elections dominated by conservative activists having to explain, not one, but two increases?
They ate $600 billion in defense cuts that a majority of Republicans wish they could undo rather than discuss even a tiny tax increase. Hard to see them budging now . . .
“Nobody is even talking about a grand bargain,” one of the Senate’s most influential Democratic leadership aides told us. “It is not even on our radar right now.” An adviser to Speaker John Boehner told us that window was slammed shut by Obama’s hardball tactics since the tax hike. “He missed the chance.”
I think the analysis is correct. Republicans who raise taxes again will be welcoming primary challenges all over the nation. And the White House has already socked them with two hits – tax increases and defense cuts. Obama will learn that you can hit someone over the head and apologize only so many times.
This is why Gene Sperling was busy screaming at Bob Woodward. Because he knows Woodward’s contention – that Obama moved the goalposts by trying include tax increases as a substitute for the sequester, which is all about spending cuts – does bodily damage to the president’s effort to extract more revenues from Republicans.
Sperling was likely engaged in a typical White House tactic – bully reporters to erase reporting that isn’t helpful to Obama. But as Politico notes, Republicans already get it.