The Agenda Is Not Set

OBAMA

Byron York calls it "trash talk with a purpose." Read:

"The reason he is being aggressive is that he knows he can generate a response," says a well-connected Republican strategist. "When he does an executive order, what he is trying to do is generate a response so that the entire conversation is about what he did — so that he has defined the agenda."

Likewise, when Obama, facing a newly-empowered conservative Congress, uses his State of the Union speech to propose a tax plan the liberal columnist E.J. Dionne calls "genuinely redistributive," he is trying to dictate the terms of the debate with a powerful adversary. Of course Obama knows his plan is anathema to Republicans, but if they debate the president on his terms, he makes progress.

"It works if we let it work," says the Republican strategist. "When Obama says something, the question is: Is that the most important thing we should be talking about now, or should we be setting the agenda? Is it something that we have to immediately engage and begin talking about? Which means he has set the agenda." [Emphasis in original]

As I wrote here last week:

This isn’t about spending. It’s about picking a fight with Congress, which is the one thing left keeping Obama relevant, and the one thing other than campaigning he was ever any good at.

The GOP leadership should declare Obama's budget and tax increases DOA, and simply refuse to discuss them -- even with members of the Complicit Media who will insist Congress play along with the President's agenda.

Congress has plenty to do, plenty to talk about, plenty of members just as smart (really) as anyone in the White House. They have no need to follow the script written by a lame-duck troll, even if he is armed with a phone and a pen.