Ezra Klein: Last night’s debt-ceiling meeting did not go very well … Eric Cantor launched into a stemwinder before the teams had even had time to look at the options papers the staffs had developed. On three separate occasions, Cantor pushed for the sort of short-term increase the administration has explicitly ruled out. Cantor’s final effort to push the new plan came as the meeting was breaking up and the president was giving instruction to staff on how to prepare for the next set of talks. “Eric, don’t call my bluff,” the president said. “I’m going to the American people on this.” Then, as the story goes, he walked out.
The breakup of the meeting, while dramatic, seems a bit less so if you know that Obama also said “I’ll see you all tomorrow” before leaving the room. But, as if confirming Obama’s accusation that this was all “posturing,” Cantor immediately rushed to reporters to inform them of the president’s dramatic exit. Nevertheless, one goal of the talks is now fulfilled. In his initial remarks announcing the White House negotiations, Obama said one goal was that “the parties will at least know where each other’s bottom lines are.” Now they do.
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Joe Klein: ….. the President of the United States monstered down on Representative Eric Cantor in Wednesday’s deficit ceiling squabble. This is so refreshing on so many levels.
Cantor has been using this crisis to undermine his leader John Boehner, by playing the Tea Party/Grover Norquist recalcitrance card. The boy badly needed someone to get up in his face and Barack Obama, of all people, apparently did, telling Cantor, in no uncertain terms, that he’d veto any short term deficit ceiling fix or, indeed, any plan that did not include revenue increases. Then Obama walked out, or the meeting ended, depending on whom you talk to.
So what we have now is the Republican party in, yes, disarray – a word used to describe Democrats almost exclusively, back in the day before the crazies took over the GOP store. You have Cantor and the House Teasies opposing any revenue increases …. You have Boehner, struck dumb apparently, after his attempt at bipartisan statesmanship with the President was greeted by tossed shoes and catcalls from the Teasies. You have Mitch McConnell, well, I’m speechless about Mitch McConnell…
…. Obama and Boehner proposed to do something really good for the country. Obama and the Republican leadership could still work out a significant deficit reduction deal … if the CantorTeasians are will to bend just a teensy bit and include some loophole closing. Or we can just forget about the whole thing, go the McConnell route…in which case, I hope the President submits his $2 Trillion deficit reduction compromise bill to the Congress and dares the Republicans to vote against it.
…. Grover Norquist came up with the idea of the No Tax pledge when he was in high school as a way to “brand” the Republicans and distinguish them from the Democrats. And there you have it in a nutshell …. the Republican Party has moved from Reagan’s politics of principle to Norquist’s politics of marketing … that’s the reason why the Republican Party is in serious danger of reducing itself to a drooly-mouthed anti-tax cult. And to think: they used to be considered the grownups.
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