What Kind Of Negotiator Is Barack Obama?

I’d say door number three:

President Obama has not negotiated a single win-win middle ground legislative compromise with the other political party. I fear he may not know how to do so or be unwilling to do so because he sees all his dealings with Congressional Republicans as pure zero-sum.

The scary part about model 3 is that the President might unwittingly kill an agreement, further inflame a nasty partisan blame game, and trigger a recession even though in this model that’s not the outcome he wants. In model 3 a different negotiator (say, Mr. Bowles) could find a middle ground that could pass both the House and Senate, but President Obama cannot or will not. Some combination of legislative inexperience, a distaste for interacting with Congress, and a naturally combative rather than cooperative temperament may hobble the President’s ability to close deals with those who have different policy priorities. And if model 3 is correct, in the next few weeks it could all go sideways because we have a President who doesn’t know how to or isn’t willing to negotiate.

We’ll find out in a couple weeks.

36 thoughts on “What Kind Of Negotiator Is Barack Obama?

  1. DaveP.

    To tell the truth Obama is a horrible negotiator: he doesn’t know how to triangulate or make deals and he’s built a reputation for negiotiating in bad faith. But he’s up against John Boehner, and beating Mister Defeat at the negotiation table is like being a better singer than Yoko Ono.

  2. Paul Milenkovic

    Maybe Mr. Obama wants to “go over the cliff” — in a static revenue model, letting taxes revert to pre-Bush levels, letting everyone’s taxes go up, will pretty much stabilize the deficit from running away while at the same time allowing entitlements to go on without much change.

    1. Der Schtumpy

      Paul,
      he definitely wants to go over the cliff IMO.

      It will allow him to further blame anyone who made a buck between 1980 and today. Except for himself and his wife of course, because they ‘care’ about people and have given their very lives for any aforementioned needful people.

    2. Larry J

      I’m still looking for evidence of Obama’s intelligence. In a time when the federal government is running deficits of more than a trillion dollars a year and is borrowing 46 cents of every dollar spent, Obama is not only demanding tax rate increases but spending increases as well. He’s incapable of learning and therefore a moron.

    3. wodun

      I’m not sure that letting all of the Bush tax cuts to expire will stabilize the deficit. Are they going to pull in anywhere near $1t a year?

      And as Larry J said, Obama’s idea of a balanced approach is raising taxes and spending. Somehow net cuts in spending are being left out of the discussion.

      1. Jim

        Are they going to pull in anywhere near $1t a year?

        More like $400B, but that, on top of the sequestration cuts, AMT, etc., would cut the deficit in half.

        Somehow net cuts in spending are being left out of the discussion.

        Remember that Obama agreed to $1T in spending cuts last year, to ransom the debt ceiling.

          1. Jim

            Here’s a 394 page report detailing the sequester’s effect on 1,200 budget categories.

            That’s on top of the $917B in cuts in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

        1. Larry J

          Except in Washington, any talk of spending cuts by either side are complete lies. In DC-speak, promising to reduce the rate of programmed increase in spending (part of baseline budgeting) at some time in the future is considered a spending cut. Real cuts are nearly unheard of. Obama is lying (and in fact demanding tens of billions of dollars in additional “stimulus” spending) and the Republicans are lying.

          1. Jim

            any talk of spending cuts by either side are complete lies

            So Paul Ryan was lying when he denounced the sequester’s defense cuts (which he voted for)?

          2. Larry J

            In effect, yes. In case you have not learned about baseline budgeting which has been in effect for over 40 years, each line item on the budget starts at last year’s number and automatically adds a percentage. For the sake of discussion, let’s say the programmed increase was 6%. Now, if Congress only gives them a 5% increase, that’s called a cut. It’s a lie and it has been going on for a long time. A real cut is when a line item gets less money (in real dollars) than the year before. That very seldom happens.

            All of Obama’s promises for spending cuts are for some time in the future, largely undefined, while the tax rate increases will happen immediately. Those cuts virtually never happen because one Congress can not mandate the spending of a future Congress. It’s Lucy with the football once again. The Democrats pulled this same lie with Reagan and Bush ’41. In exchange for tax increases, they’d cut spending. Only they never did. The Republicans are either idiots for falling for the same lies time and again or they’re complicit in the lies.

        2. Leland

          Remember that Obama agreed to $1T in spending cuts last year, to ransom the debt ceiling.

          I remember Obama agreed to form a debt commission to look into $1T in spending cuts. He formed the commission, they gave him their findings, and he filed it in the garbage can and made no cuts. That’s why we are facing the debt ceiling hardly a year later. Obama has agreed on many things for which he never kept his promise.

        3. Gregg

          The following uninformed blather spills out of Jim’s head:

          “Remember that Obama agreed to $1T in spending cuts last year, to ransom the debt ceiling.”

          What he agreed to – but has NOT implemented – is a cut in the growth of spending. AND, it make it doubly mendacious, he’s counting the money we are not going to spend being in a war for the next 5-10 years.

          Only witless dweebs, hashish overdosers, and
          parental basement dwellers, or libs (redundancy abounds) think that if you spend $100 a month, and then announce you are *NOT* going to buy a Maserati next month, but still spend $100 a month, that you have cut monthly spending.

        4. wodun

          Jim, you are failing to take into account Obama’s proposed spending increases.

          And even with all the “cuts” Obama did, we are still over $1t.

  3. Der Schtumpy

    He’s a classic negotiator in that he negotiates in the ‘classic style’ of the Hitlers, Stalins, Maos, Castros or any of a number of archetypal dictators / socialist ‘leaders’ down through history.

    He tells the ‘poor and put upon’ how HE will save them by punishing the class who has CAUSED their pain. HE then makes unilateral decisions, completely bypassing any existing body of rules or rule makers, decisions that cause MORE pain for those ‘poor and put upon’ and then, the classic part, he doubles down on the Blame Game.

    I don’t hate the man, but I loathe his ideas and ideals. What concerns me the most at this point is the level of hate, discontent and suffering that men like him often cause. My reading of history shows that while these boobs often wind up on the run, on house arrest for life or swinging from lamp points by their feet, it’s only AFTER millions have suffered or died.

  4. Cecil Trotter

    Obama doesn’t negotiate because he doesn’t have to. He can always depend on the leftist dominated media to frame every argument in his favor and to portray anyone in opposition to him as intransigent or racist.

  5. Peterh

    When one side sees tax hike as desirable and spending cuts as Armageddon, while the other side take the reverse position, what is there to negotiate?

    1. Jim

      The negotiation is more lopsided than that. If the two sides don’t agree, Obama gets his top priority (a tax rate hike on high incomes) and the Republicans forfeit theirs (low tax rates on high incomes). So the Republicans have to offer a really sweet deal for Obama to prefer it to doing nothing, and there is no evidence that the House GOP can agree to anything close to what it’d take.

      For Obama there are two problems with doing nothing:

      1. The steep cut in the deficit will push us into recession. But it will happen slowly, the Republicans will get most of the blame, and while it’s happening Obama’s leverage will only grow. Before long the Republicans will agree to S. 3412 (or something similar in the next Congress), to extend all but the high end Bush tax cuts; they can’t very well stand in the way of middle class tax cuts. That would greatly reduce the hit to the economy.

      2. We’ll hit the debt ceiling in February. But this time Obama won’t bargain for an increase: either the GOP will raise the ceiling, or the country will default. The GOP will stare into the abyss, and blink.

      1. Larry J

        What they’re now calling the “fiscal cliff” was passed by Congress last year and signed into law by Obama. They hailed it at the time as a great piece of legislation because it kicked the can down the road a little. Could it be that Congress passed and Obama signed a bad piece of legislation? Let it take effect and make them all own it. Let it burn.

        1. Jim

          The deal they made last summer is only one part of the fiscal cliff. The Bush tax extension signed in 2010 is another, along with the perennial AMT and doc fixes.

          The GOP signed last summer’s deal with confidence that Republicans would win the White House and Senate, and the deal could be undone (and replaced with one that cut safety net spending instead of defense). They took a gamble, and lost.

          Obama wouldn’t have agreed to the deal if there’d been an alternative other than default. He seems to have recognized the danger of letting the full faith and credit of the United States be used as a political bargaining chip, and insists he won’t play that game again.

          1. Larry J

            Obama is not yet a dictator despite his best efforts. Congress has to pass raises in the debt ceiling. Obama’s demands for not having to ever get permission to raise the debt ceiling would be laughable if they weren’t close to dictatorship. The Constitution enacted separation of powers for a reason and Obama is the perfect example of that reason.

  6. Leland

    I don’t think he’s any of the models. All models are predicated that Obama really believes there is a fiscal cliff. I’d say Obama fits the Sheila Jackson Lee model (hereafter known as the Jim model), the one that believes the economy is just fine. With the Jim model, the fiscal cliff is just a construct of the right wing media. Going over it gives Obama his tax increases and cuts defense spending. In the Jim model, if the GOP wants to talk to fiscal cliff, then use the argument against them to push for more directed tax increases for the rich, so that you can make even better improvements to the economy shore up your powerbase with the 99% 98%. The economy is just fine and in the Jim model, it is just about letting the Republicans go off their fabricated cliff.

    1. Jim

      Obama doesn’t think the economy is just fine, which is why he’s still trying to get stimulus spending, extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, etc. But he just won re-election on a set of policy promises. He can get closer to achieving those promises by doing nothing than by agreeing to the sort of deal that Boehner is offering. Why would he say yes?

      1. Leland

        Obama doesn’t think the economy is just fine, which is why he’s still trying to get stimulus spending,

        He got stimulus spending, a Trillion of it. According to you, he didn’t even need all of it. You’ve been telling us along that job growth is exceeding what President Bush did in his 8 years. Now you are telling us you need more stimulus to fix the broken economy that Obama told us was doing just fine during the debates. Something that Sheila Jackson Lee just reiterated on the floor of the House yesterday. Did you catch that part of Lee’s comments yesterday?

        1. Jim

          Obama told us was doing just fine during the debates

          Obama never said the economy was doing just fine. He made the point that the private sector job market has been doing better than the public sector, where we’ve been losing jobs.

          Unemployment is still high — it’s our #1 economic problem, more urgent than the deficit or debt. More spending and/or continuing the payroll tax cut would help with that.

          1. McGehee

            He made the point that the private sector job market has been doing better than the public sector, where we’ve been losing jobs.

            His public sector has seen huge job growth. He can only say the public sector is doing worse if he ikncludes state and local governments, which are actually feeling the recession that never ended. Washington, D.C. hasn’t, and won’t unless sequestration happens.

          2. Leland

            continuing the payroll tax cut would help with that.

            Once again, you want to cut revenue to entitlements of Social Security and Medicare. These programs are already facing fiscal problems, and you want to push them off the cliff?

    2. Larry J

      It’s even more cynical than that. Nancy Pelosi is saying that they need to pass “tax cuts for the middle class” to preserve the Bush cuts while Democrats have been demanding the end to those cuts for years. Not letting the Clinton tax rates come back is being called “tax cuts.” But then, she believes that unemployment checks are the best kind of economic stimulas that exists.

      1. Jim

        Democrats have been demanding the end to those cuts for years

        When’s the last time a prominent Democrat made that argument? Obama ran in 2008 on not touching tax rates for income under $250k.

        1. Leland

          Obama ran in 2008 on not touching tax rates for income under $250k.

          Uh, make that $200,000 for singles, and he was saying it as late as summer of 2011. Seems like an arbitrary number that no Democrat seems to stick with. Particularly since everyone’s rate will be affected by Obamacare, so running on not touching rates is not the same as governing on not touching rates.

  7. Jim

    she believes that unemployment checks are the best kind of economic stimulas that exists

    It’s one of the best (food stamps are better, according to Zandi).

    1. Peterh

      Only a world class fool could believe paying people to enable them to not work is good for the economy.

      Apparently, based on the recent election, there are a lot of world class fools.

    2. ucfengr

      So, in order to really stimulate the economy, Obama should nationalize all businesses, fire everybody, and then put them on unemployment and food stamps. The economy would really take off then.

  8. Raoul Ortega

    Only a world class fool could believe

    Think of it as the economic equivalent of “Intelligent Design”. They aren’t Creationists and Fundamentalists like the Marxists and Progressives are, but seem to think that by packaging up their ignorant nonsense with pseudo-scientific terms they can get the same results.

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