Mr. President, I implore you, do not negotiate with hostage takers.
You did it this week, agreeing not to let taxes rise on the rich, in order to save the middle class, which had been taken hostage by the Republicans and were being held somewhere in Nebraska.
Here’s what you said during Tuesday’s press conference.
“The middle-class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high-end tax cuts. I think it’s tempting not to negotiate with hostage-takers, unless the hostage gets harmed. Then people will question the wisdom of that strategy. In this case, the hostage was the American people and I was not willing to see them get harmed.”
You’ve blown it. The next time the Republicans want something for their rich friends, they’ll just take more hostages, because they know that when the American people are threatened, you will cave and pay ransom.
Because you care about the American people. Republicans are willing to see Americans harmed, to split the baby in two rather than give it up, to destroy the village in order to save it.
Because negotiations are not about taking sides. They’re about taking hostages. And opinions, when Republicans have them, are about politics.
You began this week to see that you, The One, were being becoming like them, because you were in fact taking rich people hostage. And you wouldn’t do that, even to rich people.
And this is your essential weakness: You’re too good.
As you correctly surmised Tuesday, the linchpin of conservative ideology is to help the rich. And everyone knows the rich stole most of the money they’ve got, and they’re donating it to the Republicans.
“Well, let me say that on the Republican side, this is their holy grail, these tax cuts for the wealthy. This seems to be their central economic doctrine.”
One would think this is an extremely simplistic way of characterizing a major political party and an entire school of thought, except that you are widely known as an intellectual, you went to Harvard, and you’re the president.
Don’t negotiate with these people. If you talk to them about the DREAM Act, they hold poor illegal immigrants hostage to get what they want.
If you try to negotiate on climate change, THEY’LL HOLD THE WHOLE EARTH HOSTAGE.
Just do as you please, like on health care. They tried to hold uninsured hostage so they could help out their rich friends running the HMOs. But you refused to negotiate, and they were forced to let the uninsured go, so they could get to the Health Insurance Exchanges an pick up free insurance.
Or insurance subsidized by someone else. Whatever.
I’m not saying the Republicans had a point, because they don’t make points. They make ransom demands.
Of course you can’t at this point negotiate in good faith. You’ve revealed Republicans for the evildoers that they are. If you talk to them, it will just look like opportunism, or politics, and you know you’re above all that.