Chris Cillizza (Washington Post): In a remarkable act of political gauntlet-throwing, President Obama castigated House Speaker John Boehner for his approach to reducing the country’s deficit, called on Members of Congress to do what’s “right” when it comes to debt reduction and issued a veto threat if a bill that does not meet his standards comes to his desk.
“This is not class warfare, it’s math,” Obama said in response to early Republican critiques of his proposal. At another point he said that GOP members should be “called out” for signing a pledge not to raise taxes ever.
But Obama saved his choicest words for Boehner. Obama said the Speaker had “walked away from a balanced package” during the debt-ceiling negotiations and added that Boehner’s approach to debt reduction was “not smart…it’s not right”.
…. What that means, wethinks, is that Obama has given over the idea of being the compromiser-in-chief – the prevailing sentiment of the first eight months of 2011 – in favor of taking the fight to Republicans and forcing them to respond in kind or feel the political consequences.
…. The 2012 election may still be 14 months away but the central debate on which it will pivot began in earnest this morning.
Full article here
Greg Sargent: This has to be the clearest sign yet that Obama has taken a very sharp populist turn as he seeks to frame the contrast between the parties heading into 2012. During his remarks this morning, Obama directly responded to Republicans accusing him of “class warfare,” but rather than simply deny the charge, he made the critical point that the act of protecting tax cuts for the rich is itself class warfare, in effect positioning himself as the defender of the middle class against GOP class warriors on behalf of the wealthy.
Don (in the comments in the thread below): Just in case anyone forgot, tomorrow is September 20, 2011, the day DADT is officially over. Is this guy for real or what, he changes the arch of justice and then just goes on about his business quietly. President Obama “gave “Boehner 98% of everything he wanted, which turned out to be ocean front property in Oklahoma. And now Boehner is in a race against time, come November Boehner has to either accept what President Obama gives him or accept what the Super-Committee gives him, which President Obama has already said he will veto if revenues are not included. And this, Professional Lefters, is how it is done.
*drops microphone, turns around and walks away*
Steve Benen: ….. The president has operated under a set of assumptions – GOP leaders are reasonable people, willing to compromise in good faith, acting with the nation’s best interests at heart – that have always seemed rather fanciful.
With the introduction of the American Jobs Act and today’s debt-reduction plan, President Obama and his team appear to have thrown out the old playbook …. It’s about time. The White House suffered some major setbacks, but officials have apparently decided to send congressional Republicans a new message: no more Mr. Nice President.
…. The new playbook is predicated on more realistic expectations: Republicans are going to say no to everything anyway …. What are the major concessions Obama has included in his economic plan? There aren’t any; that’s the point….
….. It took a while, but President Obama seems to have decided to break out of the box Republicans have spent years trying to weld shut. Between the American Jobs Act and today’s debt-reduction plan, the White House appears more invested in presenting what should pass, and less concerned about what might pass.
It’s the difference between following and leading.
Andrew Sullivan: Every single poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly supports higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a package to cut the deficit. The margins are staggering: the NYT poll shows a majority of 74 – 21; even Rasmussen shows a majority of 56 – 34. What the president proposed this morning is simply where the American people are at. If he keeps at it, if he turns his administration into a permanent campaign for structural fiscal reform, I don’t see how he loses the argument.
Full post here