Sorry about yesterday, folks. Unavoidably detained most of the day, but we're here today.
The NY Times floats a trial balloon that the White House may finally be ready to go after Republicans on blocking any and every measure to improve the economy and create jobs.
Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. These include free trade agreements and improved patent protections for inventors.
But others, including Gene Sperling, Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, say public anger over the debt ceiling debate has weakened Republicans and created an opening for bigger ideas like tax incentives for businesses that hire more workers, according to Congressional Democrats who share that view. Democrats are also pushing the White House to help homeowners facing foreclosure.
Even if the ideas cannot pass Congress, they say, the president would gain a campaign issue by pushing for them.
“The president’s team puts a premium on being above the partisan fray, which is usually the right strategy,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate. “But on this issue, when he knows what the right thing to do is, and when a rather small group on one side is blocking any progress, you have to be willing to call that group out if you want to get anything done.”
Chuck Schumer is correct. The lame duck session tax fight and especially the debt ceiling fight proved that there is no compromise with the GOP in 2011. It's simply not possible. President Obama bent over backwards and the terms were still unacceptable to the GOP. The deal that had to be worked out in order to stave off default still resulted in Republicans getting the country's credit rating downgraded due to childish petulance.
This is absolutely the right thing to do. The White House needs to put concrete measures on the table, and Democrats in the House and Senate need to back these measures. If the Republicans block them and in fact refuse to let them even come up for a vote in the House like they have been, then it's time to call them out for doing so.
Republican popularity is in the low 30's right now, far lower than the Dems and the President (both in the mid-40s). This is a fight the Democrats need to have, and need to win on.
Too bad I don't believe it will happen.
But there is little support for such an approach inside the administration. A series of departures has left few economists among Mr. Obama’s senior advisers. Several of his political advisers are skeptical about the merits of stimulus spending, and they are certain about the politics: voters do not like it.
Mr. Plouffe and Mr. Daley share the view that a focus on deficit reduction is an economic and political imperative, according to people who have spoken with them. Voters believe that paying down the debt will help the economy, and the White House agrees, although it wants to avoid cutting too much spending while the economy remains weak.
As part of this appeal to centrist voters, the president intends to continue his push for a so-called grand bargain on deficit reduction — a deal with Republicans to make even larger spending cuts, including to the social safety net, in exchange for some revenue increases — despite the strong opposition of Congressional Democrats who want to use the issue to draw contrasts with Republicans.
This is what the White House has been doing for the last year or so...and it's failed miserably. Voters care far more about jobs than deficit reduction and here the NY Times is basically lying. That's because as I explained yesterday, the Village has their own agenda and that agenda is to sell SS and Medicare cuts.
The President would be better served by going along with his party here. I'm hoping he still has a choice. I don't believe he'll be given one.