In the history of mankind, many republics have risen, have flourished for a less or greater time, and then have fallen because their citizens lost the power of governing themselves and thereby of governing their state. TR


The Republicans Have a Lot of Leverage

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.

Me? Worst president ever?
Photo by Keith Koffler

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.

He won! Can't you see that? He won!

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.

141 thoughts on “The Republicans Have a Lot of Leverage”

  1. “Do Republicans not understand negotiations? You propose the stars, and then ultimately accept the moon.”

    They been negotiating for over a year and a half. So far, it has produce a cup of jack squat. They been negotiating. It’s time they called Obama’s bluff. While Obama is yunking it up in PA today, I set up a presser in one of the big conference rooms. In it, have all the major GOP players with a proposal of revenue increases that is around where roughly Obama wants but a bit less. Like a $1.3 trillion or so. Have it in black and white in a nice stack sign by all. Say your just waiting for the President to live up to his end which he talked about ALL THE TIME during the campaign including at the debates where he said, “For every dollar of added revenue, I will brink you two and half dollars worth of cuts”. Have it playing on a TV in the back, over and over again along with footage of him from 2008 talking about how ObamaCare was going to be paid with tax increases. Dont’ say a word. Just wait. Hell get a couple card games going and anytime the press asked what you were doing just say, “Were waiting on the President so we can work and get this deal done”.

    My guess though the GOP will shoot themselves in the chest like they always do, that is what they are best at.

    1. I’ll watch that on TV but I am afraid Matt Lauer, Rachel Maddow, and Brian Williams will cut away to a breaking story…”another tree, another kitten caught in its high branches, another scene of heroic efforts on the part of Smallville’s first response services!”

      1. Yup. Maddow of course will blame the GOP and knight Obama no matter what they do. I swear, Obama could literally crap on her head and she would say it’s good luck to be crapped on by him. LOL! I hate sheep no matter what side they are on and she might be the leader of the left’s sheep!

        1. No, she’d hold his crap up with both hands and, while he was still wiping in full view of the camera (assuming he does), she’d trumpet “THIS IS GEORGE BUSH’S FAULT!”

    2. You don’t seem to get it buddy. The Republicans can’t hold your magic presser and lay out their plan because deductions don’t add up or if they do they are going to gore a lot of Republican oxes and reveal slashing cuts in social programs. Why do think Boehner has been so coy? The only plan out there right now is Obama’s and while Boehner/ McConnell huddle in quiet rooms Obama is out on the stump framing this as an issue of Republicans resisting tax cuts on the wealthy and paying for it by cuts in Medicare etc. Card games for godsake, yes that’s going to make the Republican look real serious.

      1. Last year their was over $850 billion on the table in added revenue. And talk on CH says they can kick it up to 1.2 trillion with relative ease. Taxes are never the problem. They gone up and down over the past 30 tears. And over that time we had over 19 congressional groups and about 9 task forces look into the growing debt problem since it went from $500 billion to $16 trillion. And the reason is always the smart, spending. Nobody deep down wants to cut it especially your boy Obama. He needs it for ObamaCare.

        And quit with the buddy since we’re not and I really don’t feel like talking with someone who has yet to use one fact in a post.

      2. Hey, “Buddy”. Maybe Boehner will grow a pair, tell Obozo to stuff it, and then go on national television and announce that, because of the economic terrorism against the people of the United States and the fiscal child abuse that the leftists insist on commiting, there will be no further debt limit increases until the Democrat Party explains EXACTLY how it is they are going to pay for all of the crap that they want to spend money on. In writing.

      3. 1.7 trillion in tax increases on the wealthy over 10 years which would keep the government open for less than two weeks and do nothing to lower our debt makes Obama look serious? Please

      4. Really? Explain to us how Obama’s taxes on the rich gets to $1.6 trillion. It doesn’t, Jack. Obama has sold America on the idea that we can keep spending like a drunken sailor by just raising taxes on the “rich” by a few percentage points. His plan has much more in in that would seriously damage our economy and the middle class. There is not enough money in the “rich” to support his drunken spending. The real money is in the middle class. That’s the couple, with two kids, making $50,000 per year, Jack. Yeah, Obama cares.

    3. Let’s be serious for a moment.

      This entire article is a denial of observable facts, and a denial of reality. It’s long past due for the GOP to start dealing with reality, instead of what we WISH was reality.

      “I still believe, despite the results of the 2012 election, that voters in the end blame those in power for wielding power ineffectively.”

      Still believing something, despite it being proven wrong, is not only not helpful, it is self harming. We need to accept the fact that the GOP will be blamed if this deal does not go through. We don’t have to like it, but we can’t bury our heads in the sand either.

      “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.”

      Just because voters in the exit polls said…are you kidding? The overwhelming majority of Americans (over 60%) want taxes to go up, the sooner we internalize this the better.

      Unfortunately, Republicans don’t hold ANY cards in this particular fight. If Obama does nothing, he wins. If Obama negotiates, he half wins. He has nothing to lose by going over the cliff, and we have EVERYTHING to lose – 2014 and beyond. If we were smart, we would work with the President for now, anything else is just going to further damage the party. As much as we wish Romney was POTUS, HE IS NOT. We lost just about everything, including seats in the House and the House popular vote. Four years ago we lost every branch of government, and 2 years ago we only managed to take over the House. Don’t even get me started on GW Bush’s two anemic victories. 271 electoral votes and a lost popular vote, 280 something electoral votes in the second election, and leaving office with a 26% approval rating. We haven’t won a decisive general election since Bush the elder in 1988!!! This nonsense needs to stop.

      1. We’ll all be better off if the Republicnas just say “NO” to everything and dig their heels in:

        Taxes rates will revert to 2002 levels for EVERYONE – including those who just voted for Obama.
        Spending will be curtailed – even if not in the exact way that Republicans would prefer.
        The payroll tax holiday (a bad idea if there ever was one) will end.
        Extended unemployment benefits will end.

        Gridlock sounds pretty good, really.

      2. MJones –
        Where are you getting you numbers that the majority of Americans want taxes to go up? Obama won the election with only 26% of eligible voters. Little over half of those eligible to vote did in this last election. That is abysmal. It speaks volumes on how bad the conservative did in getting out their message to the American people, but also it speaks even more so to how the American people view civics, and that is the fault of the union run teachers.

        Yes, there are those that want to see the rich get soaked, but anyone with an ounce of brains knows that if you make the marketplace hostile to prosperity, those that are the money makers will take their money offshore.

        The conservatives, note I do not say GOP because a good portion of them are not conservative, need to realize that the true conservative message is not the problem. The problem is the messengers. They keep putting out there people that waffle and capitulate at the first sign of adversity. Obama is not going anywhere for the next 4 years, so instead of begging and crying about it, conservatives need to come out swinging and let the American people know just how negative Obama’s policies are going to impact them. The conservative leaders need to get out and stump, hit the talking head shows, hold pressers, use the same tactics that Obama has used to demonize the conservative movement.

        Conservatives don’t even bring a knife to the gun fight. They bring a side dish like they are going to a church pitch in, and hope that Obama et al will sing Kum Ba Yah with them so that they don’t look mean. Which is ironic, given how low, dirty and mean the progressives have become.

  2. Why ridicule Boehner? Again? Or always? I wish I shared your confidence that Obama knows sending us to destruction will be blamed on him. He gets quite a bit wrong for such a supposedly brilliant guy.

    1. I agree with you about ridiculing Boehner. The Republican Party is fractured and cannot form a united front. Obama could care less about what happens to this country. He has a free ride for four years and he knows it. His narcissism is so great that any thought that he might leave a tarnished legacy is not conceivable.

      1. No reason to ridicule Boehner outside his PR skills are dreadful. And Obama knows he will not be blamed for this. The public has already stated more blame will go to the GOP. Hell, he might be wanting this to all go down so he can help the Democrats run on it in 2014.

        1. So it’s PR v PR…I guess probably. How pathetic. I prefer to say on message and not undercut what spokespeople we do have. Calling this person a RINO, that person a dopey name seems pointless to me. Nobody has every bullet point you might want. Would Santorum done better than Romney–I highly doubt it. My avowed opponent is the president, with his fakeness, posturing, lying, and anti-Constitutional ideas that have almost ruined my life.

          1. I know, right? Take is from me, watching my clientele dry up, short selling the house, declaring bankruptcy and being on foodstamps is awesome. Some people are so dramatic.

  3. “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” YES! Exactly the point. You can not have envy politics unless someone has more than his obot minions. When All Americans are in the life raft of life set adrift in the sea of life, everyone with have a window seat with an ocean view.

    1. Plenty of Republicans have stood up to Obama. But elections have consequences therefore he still in office.

      Like I said, call his bluff and if all else fails….go over the cliff. There are parachutes on it despite what some of the press have said LOL!

        1. but they aren’t united. The republicans aren’t united because they don’t agree with each other.
          all republicans aren’t conservative.
          and all conservatives in washington are fiscal conservatives.

          1. They need to be the party that brought fiscal restraint back to Washington by making the debt a issue of national security since it is. Not the party of no taxes no matter what.

          2. GWB was the greatest anti-tax crusader president in modern history. He puts Reagan’s tax record to shame. Hell Reagan raised taxes twice at the end of his administration. Yet the deficit continue his runaway locomotive path. Like I said, taxes have gone up and down over the past 30 years. Yet our national debt as been luxurious speed outside of a few years where we stop to gas up again. The problem has never been tax policy, the elephant in the room has always been spending. And the reason? Neither party is willing to put his hands on the tracks and stop what’s really driving it, entitlement program which I refer to as the holy trinity of hell: social security, Medicare and Media ad. The GOP needs to be the party of fiscal responsiblity. Therefore it should fire the first shot. I rip apart the prescription drug program from a few yeaa
            rs back. Ironically its a well run program but we can’t afford it and as aunseen benefit, companies like Wallgreens and Costco were forced their own prescription drug plan out of fear the government will get too much of the action. They now offer great prescription drug plans so there really isn’t any ned for a government drug prescription plan. I won’t hold my breath though that they do it.

            On a side note, small to medicore tax increases have shown to have no real negative effects on the economy and can even help it again, government can keep spending down. If it does, then the extra money can combat inflation and strengthen the dollar which is much more important then if pay a bit more or less in taxes. Once again, it goes back to spending. It always goes back to spending!

          3. I admire President Bush greatly. He is a good man, but he is a big government Republican. Prior to this potentate, he piled on the debt more than any other president in history. Granted he had a majority Democrat Congress for his last two years in office, but that doesn’t excuse expanding Medicare, expanding government control over education with No Child Left Behind, the amnesty fiasco he tried to shove down our throats in 2006, and then the final blow – TARP. Bush was to Obama what Hoover was to FDR.

          4. Then if you believe spending is the real problem, then take the deal. Susan if the GOP agrees to a moderate tax hike, it will still leave taxes at historically low numbers. I can’t see why that isn’t worth a small sacrifice to get a huge victory by getting Democrats to finally admit what many have said: Entitlement programs must be cut and changed in order to keep this country healthy. If not, were Greece.

          5. “Then if you believe spending is the real problem, then take the deal.”

            It’s just a tiny little betrayal of our principles and morals, right? There is no bargaining with the devil, Uncle Screwtape.

  4. I think you’re still making the assumption that Obama and the democrats will act rationally – I think that is a mistaken assumption. Who gets blamed for the fiscal cliff will be defined by the media – therefore, it really doesn’t matter what anyone does or doesn’t do – the GOP will get blamed anyway. The fact is that, since the election, the GOP has been negotiating with themselves, not Obama. Little Turbo Tax Timmy (the Susan Rice of the situation) was sent to Capital Hill to offer only 1/2 what the Administration offered last year.

    A non-trivial part of my job is to negotiate with other parties. In my experience, the worst things you can have in a negotiation opponent is someone who:

    a) doesn’t care about the outcome
    b) has no sense of balance between their position and what they are expecting from the outcome

    This is the plight of the GOP. Added to that, of course, is a left-wing media that will publicly flog McConnell, Boehner, Cantor, Ryan, et al for ANY outcome. One of 3 things will happen:

    – they “aren’t principled” if they yield
    – they “are beholden to Norquist” if they stand their ground
    – they are “abdicating their responsibilities” if they give Obama what he wants and vote “present”

    If you can’t get blamed for the outcome, then someone – anyone – tell me where the pressure is for Obama to act rationally? His “legacy” will also be defined by the media – if they can still blame Bush after 4 years (and he ran against Al Bore and Frankenstein – hardly the darlings of the left), you don’t think they’ll spend all the ink they have to savage anybody who opposes The One for the next 2 decades?

    1. Unfortunately, Rod is correct. The Democrats don’t care about the outcome of their policies as much as the outcome of the political fight. They will do whatever they feel like doing, blame the Republicans (especially those dastardly conservatives) when it all goes to hell, and get exonerated by the media. There is zero personal price to pay for them if they act irrationally.

    2. Thank you, Keith, for providing a website where the truth can be told. Today, more and more of us are getting our news and thoughtful commentary from online sources, rather than the traditional media sources. We need to continue to fight to keep the internet free. We also need to develop other strategies for loosening the grip that the liberal old media, in particular television media, has on our political system. Objective reporting is not even an aspiration anymore, and it seems this generation does not have any expectation of an ethical “fourth estate.” That is a travesty and a devastating loss for our republic, but it is something we need to face and boldly address in a strategic way. The media through which the conservative voice is heard, like conservative radio and Fox News, are important, but they have also been marginalized. We need to do more than just offer alternatives, we need to develop multi-prong strategies for de-fanging this horrible beast, while still preserving our First Amendment freedoms.

      1. Thanks Kate, and I agree, sometimes I’m amazed how little accountability reporting is done on the White House. Daily Caller tries to do some, but sometimes I feel like I have such a wide open field. Which is bad for the country.

    3. Exactly… Love your post. This is a case of pick your poison for the GOP. With that in mind they should stand on principle like they did for Obama care. The GOP needs to use every opportunity to define what they stand for as to what they oppose. Mind you it won’t change the short term outlook.
      As I’ve said many times, you don’t negotiate with terrorists, two-year olds…or liberals. That pretty much covers the rational aspect of linberal ideology. It’s never a bad idea it’s only that we did try hard enough or spend enough. This is not new and isn’t going to change. But the GOP better start saying what they will support and be consistent. The duty of the minority party is oversight. Make Obama and his ilk lead for a change from demagoguery.

    4. I agree that the Republicans are in a no win situation and that they’re going to get blamed no matter what. But I think they should let Obama have his “balanced plan” and vote present. No doubt the line will be that they are abdicating their responsibilities, to which they should reply “Didn’t you say that things would get better if we just got out of the way? Well, we did. Let’s see how this works out.”

  5. All this panic around the fiscal cliff reminds me of the Y2K scare. Sure, I think there will be some repercussions that will be somewhat painful. However, I have a ton of faith in the backbone of those who know what makes America great. The workers, and their ingenuity, will come through and right the wrongs. I still think there are more of us that care too deeply about the current state of affairs. There are too many of us who will not go down without a fight.

    What I would like is for our politicians to have the same resolve for our country and its well-being as so many of us. Who cares if you are blamed for things today if what you did saved tomorrow? Put the pressure on these politicians to do the right things, not necessarily the popular things. Keep the phone lines jammed. Keep their inboxes full. Keep their mailboxes over-flowing.

    So we go over the cliff. In doing so perhaps we can build a different foundation.

    1. A lot depends on the true state of the economy. If the economy has real underlying strength, then the “fiscal cliff” will be a lot of hooey about nothing. If the economy is in a contained Great Depression and is being kept barely alive with Federal stimulus, then the “fiscal cliff” will be an epic disaster. We won’t know the truth until afterward.

      1. Great point. If I trusted the bozos in Washington more, I be getting my cliff diving gear on now since it can be managed. My fear is they will muck it up just like they did everything to get us here and that is why I am still squimmish about the cliff happening. Because in some ways I think its the only way spending can get under control by forcing Obama and Congress to eat it like a kid who doesn’t want his spinach. Force it down their throat. And ill gladly take a dollar in new tax revenue in exchange for 3 dollars of significant spending cuts.

      2. The economy is very week. I’ve seen estimates that the economy may go into a recession EVEN IF we don’t go over the fiscal cliff. Massive shadow interview in housing. The much ballyhooed growth 2.7% in Q3 was 40% inventory build-up. That means firms aren’t selling and are building up excess inventory. The market is built on air with Ben pumping cash in to keep up us afloat. Citigroup think unemployment is headed to 10% in the next couple months WITHOUT the cliff. This is a coming catastrophe..

          1. 2013 is going to hurt regardless. We been living on too much steroid filled money. The economy is going to stall regardless whether they get a deal done or not. The question is what’s better long term. A deal so its a slow burn on the way down or go off the cliff and just get it over so you get up faster.

      1. Yeah, but don’t forget about Y3K. And Y10K adds an entire extra digit, which will make the Mayan Apocalypse look like freaking child’s play. Better replace all of your servers now.

      2. Oh yeah, oh yeah, Keith. I’ve thought for years that Y2K was the biggest scam ever perpetrated on the public. Thanks for writing that/

  6. Something smells really fishy about this fiscal cliff debate. Rush said he talked to Senator McConnell this morning. Is it customary for the Senate to be left out of budgetary negotiations? I think Bawling Boehner has already sold out to Obama. Don’t know if he’s being blackmailed over compromising photos, a Paula Broadwell in his closet, or if he is just another progressive hiding out in a RINO suit. Once again, he won’t defend the Constitution by stopping America’s death spiral into debt.

    1. I think the opposite is happening. I think Obama is starting to overplay his hand like he did in 2011 and Congress is getting ready with a Plan B like they had to last year. Obama might be a great campaigner but he has demostrated a serious lack of political skills. Sending up Timmy G with a whole slew in tax increase with zero spending reductions was Amateur Hour. If I were Obama, I would done quite the opposite. Send in a proposal with nothing but spending cuts. Then have the GOP come up with a list of revenue increases and work from there.

      Either that or both sides are thinking the cliff is inevitable and just are getting their parachutes and go cliff diving like Krauthammer wrote today.

      1. Honestly buddy… have no idea of negotiations. The ONLY plan on the table as of right now is Obama’s. What is Boehner”s? Serious lack of political skills?……so who just won an election Republicans said he was certain to lose? Whose currently playing cat and mouse with Boehner? Krauthammer and co are seeing the writing on the wall and their serious policy proposal is to do a Thelma and Louise.

        1. I guess Howard Dean is now a vast ring conspirator since he advocated doing that. LOL! If Obama was actually serious about having a grand bargain, he would sent over a budget deal that had over 2.5 trillion dollars in budget cuts including some that hurt Democrats favorite cows. Then tell the GOP its their turn to cone up with $1.5 trillion in increase revenue. After all he did pledge in the debates to have a 2.50/1 spending cuts/tax revenue.

          But he won’t do that since he also pledge to use the taxes on the rich for ObamaCare.

        2. Honestly buddy why don’t you go join Howard Dean and really jump off a cliff since that what he said last night and leave us grownups who.have a clue about politics to have an actual discussion lol

      2. Obama has the media on his side. So he holds all the cards. And why should he negotiate anyway? The automatic tax increases and spending cuts will give Obama what he really wants no matter what.

        1. I am starting to agree with you. That offer was disgraceful. Done with zero interest other then to rile up the other side. And like said to Keith, this isn’t the first round of negotiations where you shoot the highest you can so your retreat is held to a minimum. They been working on a deal for almost two years now. The 2 minute gun went off awhile ago. Time to make the tough choices ie spending cuts since they been the problem for over 30 years now. Not tax policy.

          I think Obama has to get that e ObamaCare

          1. He has to pay for ObamaCare with higher taxes and he can’t do that with just the wealthy increases. He needs everyone to lay more and needs serious cuts to non entitlement programs just to keep the government from defaulting. Therefore he might need the cliff to get it done.

        2. Going over the cliff has some significant advantages:

          Obama’s voters are not held harmless from tax increases. They only wanted to tax “the rich”? Sorry, you get whacked, too, you bunch of whiners.
          The payroll tax holiday farce expires.
          Extended unemployment compensation expires, too. Time to get a job, even if it’s not what you want. Pizza delivery shops are hiring across the country.
          Federal spending is curtailed and it’s not all defense.
          A serious bite is taken out of the deficit.
          Obama does not get his request for removal of the debt ceiling (credit card with no limit).

          Time to go over “the cliff”.

  7. Does Plouffe script all of the Obama moves as it always seems that Jarrett takes the communications from Plouffe and then winds up Obama with the spin and diatribes. Such a banana republic WH so that even Clinton looks decent by comparison. Never though that would be said but there were jobs.

  8. I’ll tell you this….. Mr Koffler has no idea of negotiation because as of right now Obama is holding all the cards, all of them with the possible exception of the debt ceiling and that’s of very limited utility unless you really think the Republicans are going to force a default around inauguration day. If this goes after December 31 he’s going to have a stronger hand because the fiscal cliff is not a cliff in economic terms. It will take many months for the economic impact to be felt whereas the political impact will be immediate when tax with-holdings go up and along with FICA etc.

    1. Do you really think anyone’s taxes will ever go down again if they rise on Jan 1? I sure as hell don’t. That is what Obama wants to happen, and it will happen.

  9. Pingback: Point/Counterpoint: Does Obama want to Go Over the Fiscal Cliff? « Nice Deb

  10. who was the leader of the the house and senate when Hoover got blamed for crashing the country? Most people don’t know, don’t care- the job of the president is to work with whoever is there. If he doesn’t and fails, he gets the blame. If he does and succeeds, he gets the credit. Short term, sure the republicans will get the blame, they will get the blame no matter what happens though, and we all know it. That being the case, who really has the most to lose? That is the advantage of always being the media’s scapegoat, at some point you realize it, and if you’re going to get blamed anyway…..

      1. Dookhh and Keith, I’m not as convinced. While historically accurate it was a different time and at least some of the press was independent and the population wasn’t infected with ignorance. These are different times. It will have to get much worse before any of this stink sticks to Obama.

        1. I agree. Its just like Keith said this past election was like 1980. It wasn’t like I said leading up to it. Different time, different place. if we go over the fiscal cliff and all hell breaks lose, the GOP will be blamed for decades. The brand is that weak right now.

          Again I advice them to bite the bullet a bit and agree to a moderate tax revenue plan. Then let Obama look unreasonable by not agreeing to the spending cuts that he promised. Its also Mae Obama look like a liar but that doesn’t matter since he lied before and nobody seem to care.

  11. The president eats dogs

    I agree. Republicans will be demonized no matter what, and they deserve it. They deserve it because they play the game like they’re afraid of what the communists in the press will say about them. The only way they’ll ever re-gain their swagger is if they give the hostile press the big middle finger and start to fearlessly advocate their agenda. Step 1 is telling President Osama to stick his grand bargain up his terrorist ass. After all, do you think Osama won by caring what his opponents thought of him?

    1. The sad part of it all, I actually agree with you…some will SWEAR that they only oppose Obama’s “views” but the level of HATE and disrespect.of this president is something that has never happened in the history of politics!!! And of course, I’m sure those will say how we have never had a president as “radical” as Obama but I beg to differ…hmm, I wonder what is it that makes people hate and oppose this president so much??!!??! I just can’t put my finger on it…oh yea, I get it…Bush f#$&ed this country up the a@$ with no vaseline but still received respect when in office …yea,, I wonder…

      1. Why conservatives hate Obama.
        1. He is a radical collectivist- no different from his mother or his father (the biological one)….. the first political party that he was a member of was NOT the Democrat party. His envy /jealousy of those people who are successful and not dependent on Government can be seen rather clearly.

        2.He is no different than the crooks who come out of Chicago. Look at his sleazy friends.. Tony Rezko..former Mayor Richard Daley and most damaging of them all John Stroger – the most CORRUPT President of Cook County Board.. or CROOK County as we call it. His support of Todd Stroger over Forrest Claypool showed that he would back the Corrupt Chicago machine every time.

        3. There has not been a more dishonest pol than Obama – yes even more dishonest than the Clintons. .. from breaking promises of running elections on federal tax payer money to closing Gitmo to keeping your own doctor, to not intervening militarily in another Arab-Islamic country,to pretending that his WOT policies is different than Bush….while Bush bashing all the time. Obama has no shame or sense of dignity.

        4.He tries to prop himself up at the expense of America. Only Jimmy Carter was as apologetic about America as Obama is to its enemies. His shameful embrace of Hugo Chavez and even more shameful show of weakness to the Iranian Mullahs – be it the betrayal of the Green Movement or the useless nuclear talks, he is a self promoter who tries to put down American interests at every possible turn.

        5.His absolutely ridiculous chest thumping over Osama Bin Laden’s death. this coming from a guy who does not know how to hold a gun or believes in having a gun for self defense in the first place…..After trying to give Khalid Sheik Mohammed a federal court trial in NYC of all cities, he goes on to order Osama Bin Laden dead without giving OBL a chance to defend himself in court… geez what ever happened to the US Constitution that he is soo fond of and accused Bush of tearing up ?

        Does he think that OBL deserves to see all evidence against him on 9/11 presented in a federal court ? It was yes in 2008 and no afterwards… See point 2 about his essential dishonesty.

        6.He divides America into red states and blue states and governs accordingly.

        7.He ran by far the nastiest re-election campaign that a President has ever run. He called Romney every thing from a tax cheat to a murderer who killed the wife of of a poor worker, even though he knew that these were patently false and ad-hominem attacks. But for a dishonest rat bastard like Obama, this is nothing.

        I am glad to have come back home to India. For the longest time, i used to think that Indian politicians are among the most corrupt, morally bankrupt and dishonest people bereft of new ideas other than collectivist nonsense UNTIL I came across the 44th POTUS…. Obama makes our Indian pols blush deep with shame.

  12. “…a recalcitrant Congress. That will be the second thing school kids learn. But the first thing they will learn is that Obama sucked.”

    That fix is already in.

    Neither the mass media nor most historians will ever label The First Black President ™ as a failure. He can’t be allowed to fail because he’s The First Black President–and if he failed, he could be the last black president.

    So Obama is assured of going down in the history books as a success no matter what happens to the country. And the GOP and anyone else who dares to stand in Obama’s way will be blamed for anything that goes wrong.

  13. Lots of baseless assumption here. Sounds a lot like the head-in-the-sand hypothesizing that convinced so many Republicans Romney was going to win.

    At the end of the day, Americans voted for Obama, and a large part of that was a referendum on tax breaks for the wealthy. Americans voted for Obama’s tax policy, and whether they like it or not, Republicans are going to have to concede that if they want to win another election in the near future. Fine, try to get as many cuts on liabilities as possible in the process – that’s what an opposition is for. But at the end of the day, if a deal doesn’t happen because Republicans won’t compromise on the tax issue, they WILL get blamed, and there will be long term repercussions. They just don’t have any political capital left.

  14. you are of course right, but Boehner doesn’t have the spine for a fight. Every instinct Boehner has is to give in (plus he really doesn’t want to cut spending anyway).. That is why he also said that Obamacare was the law of the land, before he pulled back the next day. Does anyone really think that Boehner is willing to take the blame for anything?

  15. I don’t think President Obama wants to go down as the worst president in history, do you?

    That’s it? That’s all you’ve got? That BarryO is afraid he’s going to replace Dubya as the worst president in our history? I feel better than ever about the progressive position in this fight every time I read one of you clowns. Thanks for the lift!

    1. The progressive position in this fight? No doubt you mean the Cloward-Piven strategy of collapsing the economy. Once that is accomplished the transformation of America to a totalitarian utopia can begin. Only the useful idiots who voted for free stuff and shiny objects don’t get it. You’re going to have to disappear a heck of a lot of conservatives for this utopian vision to come to fruition. We will fight you every step of the way tough guy.

  16. Pingback: More Thoughts On The Fiscal Cliff – the Conservative Top 10

  17. The GOP has some leverage- if and only if they play their cards wisely. They should paint Obama into a corner of his own making by agreeing to a slight tax rate increase on millionaires and billionaires- not families making 250k a year; in cities like NY, SF, Boston and Chicago this amounts to a middle class income. In return for their concession the GOP should demand and get real tax and entiltment reform. If Obama refuses to deal the GOP should walk away from the deal and let Obama take us over the cliff. Unemployment has spiked this month and no doubt will rise above 8% for November. Fiscal forecasts show Q4 gnp growth slowing to below 4%. The slowing economy provides the GOP with additional leverage as even Obama has stated on two occassions that raising taxes on anyone in a down economy is a dumb move.

    1. That’s awful.

      So you want the GOP to be the party of cutting Social Security and Medicare.

      Obama knows (and you do not) that cutting entitlements may make economic sense but it’s a political disaster. Look at the election. Look at the polls. A strong majority of Americans want NO cuts or changes to SS or Medicare whatsoever.

      1. Typical. Why does every spending cut have to be about benefits? I don’t mind helping folks out since we are all one step away from the abyss. I simply question if paying for endless govt bureaucracy is the way to do it. It is possible to cut govt and not cut benefits for services. Rather benefits for govt employees and the number of employees. That is the real fight and public sector unions will not let the conversation get remotely close to that truth.
        When liberals talk about cutting benefits or services they automatically frame the argument with no other possibilities or considerations. There is spending that can be cut but no mention of that. It’s as if teachers unions are all about education. Same for federal /S&L.

  18. For Obama bin Lenin, this is a win-win situation! If the GOP leadership caves, he wins. If we go over the cliff, he gets what he really wants, and gets to blame the Republicans.

    If Obama bin Lenin is at all concerned with his legacy, which I doubt, the GOP needs to publicly present a proposal complete with revenue enhancement — but not an increase in rates, and O’s own $2.50 in cuts for every dollar in taxes challenge. [Take it out of HHS, DoEd, DoAgriculture and DoEnergy, to start.] Present it publicly as a ‘final offer’ and see what he does. If he counters with other cuts, then there is something to negotiate. But my guess is he will have a screaming hissy fit.

    But I believe he wants to go over the cliff. His dream is to be the modern Lenin and make the US into a socialist state…a post-Soviet Peoples Republic. If he succeeds, the pain and agony he caused will disappear; the government will write the history.

  19. The author is wrong. The Republicans have zero leverage. Obama WANTS to go over the so-called “fiscal cliff”. He wants everyone’s taxes to rise to pre-Bush levels, and even higher. He will get what he wants. He is just going through the motions of negotiating so he can blame the Republicans, that’s all.

    Obama wants to go down in history as the one who fundamentally changed the USA to make it a fairer place for the minorities and the downtrodden. Now that he will never run for election again, he wants the Depression to return. But this time, he won’t bail out the banks. He will let them go, and the entire financial wealth of the middle class will go down with them. A national financial emergency will allow Obama to restructure the economy along Socialist principles. The MSM will guarantee that the Republicans get the blame, and Pelosi returns to give Obama a rubber stamp Congress.

  20. I say let ’em burn the house down. NO congress can commit a future congress to future action = spending cuts in the future will NOT occur because of a “deal” in 2012/13. WILL NOT HAPPEN – see Reagan’s deal with congress re spending cuts which NEVER HAPPENED..

    the short term is going to be painful for repubs (NOT TO MENTION the US) but it’s going to be painful anyway.

    GET ITI OVER WITH NOW so this is NOT a negative for repubs in 12 and 16.

  21. The flies are still buzzing around the. Load in this article. I think o is more interest in saving the middle class than his. Legacy. Prove me wrong righties

    1. If we go over “the fiscal cliff”, you are proven wrong.

      (There are actually 2 cliffs – a spending cliff and a tax cliff. I am absolutely certain we will go over the tax cliff. The spending cliff is less certain, simply because Congress MUST pass an omnibus appropriations bill and raise the debt ceiling, but the real deadline is Feb or Mar, not Jan.)

  22. Sorry I can’t share your optimism.

    Obama’s project is to turn the US in a Euro-Socialist state and as far as I can see he not only believes in must be done, but that he can succeed without any compromise with Republicans.

    He hasn’t compromised on anything, most notably Obamacare. Why should we expect him to act any differently in his second term?

    Reality means nothing to him because he believes he is in complete control of public perceptions.

    He doesn’t care about the military and whether it is weakened. He is entirely willing to be “flexible” with Russia.

    He has Janet Yeller at the Fed keeping the pressure on Bernanke for 0% money, and doesn’t fear the inevitable inflation to come because he can spin it and blame the Republicans.

    He is as proud as they come. He is aloof and contemptuous. He has built few relationships in Congress.

    His primary adviser is Valerie Jarrett, and has almost no critical voices he takes into consideration. The media do nothing but shill for him by and large.

    He is not a negotiator. He is a demogogue.

    The Republicans do indeed have power, but they don’t have a negotiation partner.

    His “negotiating” position on the fiscal cliff was both risible and insulting.

    Republicans are being pushed to the point where their greatest power is to let Obama own completely his Euro-Socialist project and let him take full responsibility for the catastrophe that is inevitable..

    1. Obama will turn that catastrophe into opportunity, as is already in his designs. Remember “never let a crisis go to waste”? An opportunity to remake American into a totalitarian socialist state. He will get this opportunity simply by being President when the old order collapses as the Depression returns. And Obama (and Democrats generally) are much better at gaming things out then any Republican. The Democrats operate 6 moves ahead, the GOP can see only one or two moves ahead.

  23. “I don’t think President Obama wants to go down as the worst president in history, do you?” I don’t think it is possible for him to reach the depths of George W. Bush. Just look at what Bush turned over.

    Yes, I do think the republicans have some leverage. If they are willing to blow up the country to get their way, they will have leverage. Will they be blamed? I don’t care because I care about the welfare of this country; not who gets blamed. It took democrats 2 generations to shake off the perception that they were unpatriotic. If the republicans wish to go down that road, all they need do is keep obstructing the majority and pushing ideology over fact. In the last election a majority of the country thought democrats were more patriotic!

    What the republicans did with the debt ceiling was reprehensible. That was not about adding debt. It was about acknowledging that we would pay for what was lawfully authorized. As a result, we had the first downgrade of our debt in history and higher interest rates of federal debt. What did they get? “The fiscal cliff”

    I have a different vision of Obama’s 1st term. I think he tried to compromise, but every time he moved right, the republicans backed up. That appears to be over.

    1. Wow just wow. Obama moved right? What do you watch Rachel Maddow? He can’t do worse than Bush, already there brother. Worst president ever by far and things are going further South fast. Doesn’t really matter if they make a deal or not, we’re headed for recession. You care about this country and you support Obama? And we wonder why we’re in this mess.

      1. Yep, what war did Obama start with trumped intelligence and then horribly botch? How much of our blood and treasure did he blow? What was the end result? The Iraqis didn’t pay us back with oil money. They don’t even want us as allies and they go on killing each other. Even Benghazi can be laid at the foot of Bush. If we did not have thousands of contractors guarding the our Embassy in Iraq, there might have been a few available for Benghazi.

        You people cannot admit you are wrong no matter how obvious the facts are. All you ever want to do is double down. Tax cuts didn’t work. Well let’s have some more tax cuts. A weapon doesn’t work? So what, its a job creator. The only kind of stimulus program you’ll allow is a war weapon. Not even the troops matter – just the expensive gold plated weapons.

        1. Delusional much? Blaming Bush for Benghazi? You are truly a comedy. Funny how you Libs always rewrite history. Many Dems voted for Iraq based on the same intelligence and Poland, Australia, and Great Britain joined us on this intelligence as well. Bush lied about Iraq but Obama didn’t lie on Benghazi because he relied on faulty intelligence? What a hypocrite. The looming disaster in Egypt, the outright lies on Benghazi, Iran, Israel and the Palestinians, all on Obama’s watch. His foreign policy is almost as bad as his economic record. The stimulus didn’t work, tax cuts always have, yet you want more stimulus. You Libs are just clueless. 16 trillion in debt and obamawants tax increases that amount to 1.7 trillion over 10 years. This would keep the government running for less than two weeks. Obama just can’t be taken seriously.

          1. You really should work on your reading comprehension.

            The tubes that were supposed to be for centrifuges could not possibly be for centrifuges. They were too heavy and galvanized. Zinc reacts with uranium hexafluoride, The group responsible for evaluating the tubes reported that the tubes were unsuited. They were ignored. Yes, some Democrats also voted for the war, but they didn’t cause it or run it. They were cowards and they didn’t want to take the hard side. Look at what Bush did to Kerry. Anybody who criticized the way the war was waged was labeled unpatriotic.
            The democrats didn’t fly in bales of cash and then neglect to do any accounting. They didn’t fly in green Heritage Foundation rejects to run the civilian side. They couldn’t have botched it any worse if they had set out to fail. But they had ideology on their side. Who needs truth when you have ideology.

            Tax cuts always work? Anything you say. I go back to my original post. If you want to be the party that is believed to be unpatriotic, just go on obstructing everything. People love that. I don’t even know why I am cluing you in. Your in a hole. So get out you shovel and dig. The rest of the world is moving on.

            No, I don’t listen to Maddow or any MsNBC, But I’ll bet you listen to Limbaugh and Fox News. They will never admit error. Even you, must have caught them doubling back a few times. Try The Daily Show. Not for the politics, but just to watch as Stewart runs clips showing 2 faced Fox. Stewart makes his living playing Fox clips. First they don’t like something because a democrat said or did it and then they like the exact same thing because it is a republican. Its embarrassing.

            Yep, I am delusional. That’s why I make my living with logic, facts and mathematics. If what I build fails, I can deny it all I want. But people can see the truth. So I don’t even bother. When I make mistakes, I own up to them. That’s called character. That is how I keep my credibility. But you just keep on digging. Eventually the unsupported hole will collapse and bury you. Rush Limbaugh won’t mourn you. He will be with his 6th wife smoking a cigar on his private plane to a golf resort. I think they call that laughing all the way to the bank.

          2. Well, I’m one conservative who fully admits that Bush’s Iraq war plan was misbegotten and disastrous from the start.

            Here’s a Grand Bargain: You Dems stop defending Jimmy Carter, and we conservatives will stop defending Bush.

            Any takers?

  24. People are approaching it all wrong. Taxes are scheduled to go up, without a single Republican vote. This is what Obama wants along with the defense cuts. So what does Obama have to gain from avoiding the cliff? Only to have Republicans sign up for a tax increase.

    On the other hand, what we are going to see is that Obama will raise taxes now, then as part of a debt ceiling deal will call for MORE tax hikes, up to 50%.

  25. I am an non-affiliated voter, but I hope the Republicans don’t make a deal. Go off the fiscal cliff and let Obama take the blame. Even Bill Clinton worked with a Republican Congress, not arrogantly against it. It’s encouraging to see a Republican intellectual like Charles Krauthammer and a Republican populist like Rush Limbaugh promoting the idea across the spectrum of the Republican Party.

    Your lead article, Keith, proves that Obama and wife do not care about US taxpayer money. Let the fools who voted for him feel the pinch.

  26. May I gently suggest that the GOP simply ask the President exactly what he wants and then give it to him. Ceased arguing with him. More stimulus, absolutely! Tax rate increases on the “wealthy”, sure! No reduction in entitlement expenditures, of course! Increased deficit spending, please! However, after giving Obama everything on his wish list, the Republicans should observe that as a party it believes the President is on the wrong path and that his approach will cripple the economy and result, in the very least, in round two of the Great Recession. In this fashion, the current administration will finally have to accept ownership of the economy. It will be unable to squeal, as it has so effectively in the past, that if only the GOP wasn’t so obstructionist things would have worked out. If only the stimulus was larger, then the economy would have boomed. If only taxes on the “rich” went up more, then the unemployment rate would have fallen. If only we engaged in more deficit spending, the market would have miraculously rebounded. The truth is that a child can be told repeatedly not to stick a fork in an electrical outlet else suffer harm, but not believe it. Yet when the child actually inserts the fork in the outlet and socks the s*** out of himself or herself the lesson is learned.

  27. We have a president whose agenda is to take our country down. He deliberately creates his wish list that he knows the Republicans won’t accept. When the country goes down, he will get what he wants and everyone will blame Boehner, not him. This is just a game for him, and he is enjoying every minute of it.

  28. “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.”

    None of you inside-the-beltway types and other parasites get it.
    Obama’s stated goal is “transformation.”
    Massive debt, chronic high unemployment, low-grade recession are all just bumps on the road to Belgium without the chocolates.
    He sees his legacy as transforming the militaristic, greedy and generally bad USA into a weak, Euro-socialist country run on solar energy.

    And even if the Republicans had an advantage, they’re too stupid to use it.

  29. What the GOP fails to recognize is that Obama is using the debt issue as his first campaign fight in the 2014 election. His goal is to win back the House and he’s making a bet that the MSMedia will convince voters against the GOP position. In doing so, we may well lose the only leverage Constitutionally that we have– that of the House.

  30. I know this will be hugely politically incorrect of me to say, but anyone that reads articles regularly on Real Clear Politics are political geeks–myself included. Do you all actually think that the lady that got the Obama phone and voted for Obama actually watches the news or knows the actual function Congress? I want everyone reading this to go back to their knowledge of Government that they had in the 8th grade. OK are you there now? Now come to grips with what about 90% of Americans actually care about and have knowledge in as far as politics are concerned–still with me?? Now do you think the majority of voters who watch Jersey Shore and not MSNBC or any news shows will blame Congress or Obama? I’m going to say it again to be real clear –If the MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW THE GOVERNMENT WORKS WILL THEY ULTIMATELY BLAME CONGRESS OR THE PRESIDENT??? The lady that voted for Obama for the Obama phone will wonder where her unemployment and food stamps are–she doesn’t even know who the Majority leader in the House is…YES THE PRESIDENT WILL BE BLAMED AND HE IS TOO ARROGANT TO REALIZE IT, BUT I’M SO READY TO JUMP WITH BARACK I CAN HARDLY WAIT:)…

    1. Not incorrect to me. Great article in the WSJ this morning by Caleb Rossiter: How Washington, D.C., Schools Cheat Their Students Twice Source: Wall Street Journal, Nov 30 2012. Sincere apologies as I only get the fish wrapper version and could not find the article on line for free. Point is even at the risk of disparagement you understate the incredibly low level of knowledge transfer that passes for “education”.

      Quick summary is the Credit Recovery program that let’s students “…magically earn credit…without taking a mastery exam.” So blow off school, show up for a remedial class, take no test, and obtain credit for time served. How nice. How very very nice.

  31. We lost. Go over the cliff with a smile or pay up and move on. Reagan had to raise taxes to get things done. Volker survived a recession. He’s a hero. All in all the cliff is not a bad deal–deficit down, still the world’s number 1 power, and let’s face it. The Bush tax cuts–a couple of points. No biggie.

  32. I hate to break the news to you you guys, but you’re all full of shit. The Republican clowns set this fiscal cliff up the way it is because they thought they were going to win the election. Instead, they got their asses kicked. This whole thing reminds me of a scene from the movie “300”. President Obama looks like King Leonidas leading the Spartans, while Boehner and the Republicans look like the Persians with their backs to the cliff about to be pushed onto the rocks below. If we go off the cliff, voila, big deficit reduction from cutting spending on the bloated military and minor federal programs while tax rates for everybody go back to the good old days when Clinton was president. This will make teabahhers and liberals alike happy. What’s not to like? And you morons think the GOP has leverage? President Obama can not only steer the bus topward the fiscal cliff, he can put the pedal to the metal. :o)

  33. Your underlying assumption is wrong. He will succeed in his goal. They just aren’t what any previous president had as thee goal.

    He will be then president that took America (a fundamentally unjust place with flawed founding principles) down a notch. Also he will usher in a new era of government power and dependence that liberals have freaked if since the ’60s.

    What you see as failure he (and they) will celebrate as great success.

  34. “The history books will say”… exactly what college professors, the new york times and Hollywood write in them.

    History is written by the winners, and our core institutions have already been lost to these statists. So yes, over the cliff we go. Right where they wanted us all along.

  35. You people have all gone ‘Through the Looking Glass’. If you think Obama is a radical, who do you think all those people far to the left of him are? They don’t think Obama is very radical. We have a health care plan designed by the Heritage Foundation. There is no single payer or public option,

    The Bush tax cuts are still in place and he wishes to keep them for most people. He agreed to discretionary expense cuts demanded as part of the last negotiation..

    What you people want is to roll back the New Deal. Somehow you have convinced yourselves that anybody who doesn’t want to do that is a radical. Try running on rolling back the New Deal. Remember that clown who said “Keep your government hands off my Medicare?” He was a Tbagger! Well, there are a whole lot more of them out there and they aren’t going to like a Ryan style budget one bit. Funny, people on this thread are calling me delusional.

    You just keep this up and even old white people won’t vote republican!

  36. I don’t think so. Do kids today learn that Jimmy Carter sucked? Nah. And Obama doesn’t think he’s wrong. This is going nowhere.

  37. HA HA HA HA HA…First, it was Obama was gonna be a one-term president. Now it’s Obama is gonna go down in history as worst president. You people are just silly.

  38. Seems the sheeple can not and / OR will not concede to the NWO IDEOLOGY THAT AN AMERICA HAS TO DECLINE in order to justify placing it under the great power OF THE UN structure. So they continue on their arrogant rants about how this congressman or that senator or this president cant and wont allow the fiscal cliff. BS People. F&*((ing get your head out of your asses. These people for the most part are actors and that is all they are. They run nothing anymore except a ponzi scheme and a sham media show. PREPARE FOR FOOD SHORTAGES and HOUSING REPOSSESSIONS by the FED RESERVE.and NATIONALIZATION OF main large corporations.

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  40. ” it will be the president who failed to somehow make a deal.” Are you kidding? The Republicans in Congress have absolutely zero leverage.
    What Obama is doing–correctly–is to order the GOP to give him what they want, and then they’ll negotiate. Otherwise, January 1st rolls around and–voila!!–extra revenue and budget cuts (Defense doesn’t need that much money) kick in and Obama wins and the GOP will be blamed for its intransigence and donkey-headedness. And this won’t be short term, either. History won’t show that this action will be Obama’s responsibility, but the GOP’s ability to shoot itself in both feet at once. And Republicans are actually willing to stomp their feet and have a tantrum because they want the top 2% of income earners to have their tax cuts, too? Really?
    Do Republicans really believe that 98% of the Americans are too stupid to see this? If the Republican Party in both houses continue to refuse to negotiate, it will be another nail in its coffin for future success. Americans are not that stupid. Ah, and what to do with the women vote? The Hispanic vote? The African-American vote? The youth vote? The Asian-American vote? And, soon, the senior vote? As Willy Wonka said, “So much time, so little to do–wait, reverse that!”

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