It’s striking how little Barack Obama actually has to do in order to get his way. He doesn’t have to negotiate, he doesn’t have to offer concrete proposals, he just has to be. It’s equally striking how lucky he is. The past fortnight should have killed off his presidency. His signature law was implemented, and it was an instant embarrassment. Fiasco. Evidence that Big Government is a Big Fail. Nothing but glitches as far as the eye can see, and it’s demonstrably destroying livelihoods all over the country. Whether that was part of the plan or not — Harry Reid says it was — the fact is, Obama made promises about that law that are clearly not being kept. Everyone knows it. Yet so far he is escaping the voters’ wrath, while the Republicans fighting to kill that law are taking a beating in all of the polls, and in some polls more than others.
It’s just not fair that the “fairness president” gets to behave so unfairly yet continues to stay ahead of his opponents.
Now the Republicans look set to stage what might be called a strategic retreat.
House Republicans are offering to pass legislation to avert a default and end the 11-day partial government shutdown as part of a framework that would include cuts in benefit programs, officials said Friday.
Republicans also seek changes in the three-year-old health care law known as Obamacare as part of an end to an impasse that has roiled financial markets and idled 350,000 federal workers.
President Barack Obama has insisted he will not negotiate with Republicans over federal spending — or anything else — until the government is reopened and the $16.7 debt limit raised to avert the possibility of default.
Yet, regarding benefit programs, Obama has backed an increase in Medicare costs for better-off seniors, among other items, and that idea also has appeal for Republicans.
Strategic retreats are not always bad things. They may allow a battered force to exit a losing battle, regroup and heal up, then live to fight and win another day. Essentially, that’s what happened in The Empire Strikes Back once the rebels lost Hoth. Was Luke a surrender monkey for heading off to find Yoda and get himself jedified?
But the GOP’s new offer seems to bank on that old Obama stance on benefit cuts, which means it banks on him being consistent, which in turn means it banks on the media making sure that he stays consistent.
The latter is not going to happen. The media haven’t called him out for being Two Face on the debt ceiling, opposing raising it in 2006 in stark terms and now demanding raising it in equally stark terms. The media won’t even ask him about the Obamacare rollout. They’re not going to hold him to account for some old stance he took more than five minutes ago. Not. Gonna. Happen.
In addition to ending the shutdown and increasing the debt limit, under the proposal Congress and the White House would explore ways to ease across-the-board federal budget cuts that began taking effect a year ago, and replace at least part of them with benefit-program curbs that have been included in recent presidential budgets. Officials who described the approach did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss private conversations.
Why should the sequester be eased at all? It’s living proof that when Obama scaremongers, he’s either clueless or lying. He predicted dire doom and gloom if the sequester kicked in. The sequester kicked in months ago. We’re still here. Obama’s predictions read like Mayan prophecies of the end of the world now.
Yet the media still fails to laugh in his face.