Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Adult In The Room

When dealing with petulant children, it's perhaps best to discipline them by giving them a time out in the corner:

With Democratic and Republican congressional leaders divided over how to cut the deficit, the president "got very agitated" and left the room after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor suggested a vote on a smaller deal, Cantor said. The president met with the eight top congressional leaders for close to two hours.

"Don't call my bluff; I am going to the American people," Obama said, according to Cantor, a Virginia Republican. The president "shoved back from the table" and left, Cantor said after the meeting.

A Democratic official disputed Cantor's description of Obama's departure from the room as abrupt and said the president had emphasized he believed people were engaging in too much political posturing.

Whether Cantor or the "Democratic official" (Geithner, probably) are more accurate is irrelevant: Obama walked out in the face of the lead Congressbagger's childish and immature attempts to kick the can down the road.

And why is Cantor so eager to do this?

It's really very simple: there is a steady, bipartisan drumbeat to raise taxes, probably by closing massive loopholes in the tax code that both sides admit are unnecessary and elitist.

How eager is Obama to negotiate this deal?

President Barack Obama is considering summoning congressional leaders to Camp David this weekend to find a way to cut the deficit and avoid a financial default, two people familiar with the matter said after a tense White House meeting.
Camp David: a place where summits are held. A place with a history of compromise and negotiation. A place where you go when you need to put the deal down on paper.
Not a place Republicans would like to go, at least not right now.
Smart move.
The backdrop to all this, of course, and the overriding reason for getting a deal done quickly is the bond markets are getting antsy. Moody's, in particular, is getting gunshy:

Moody's Investors Service said today it would consider downgrading the U.S. credit rating, adding to concern that political gridlock will lead to a default.

Now, I'm sure that Cantor will profit personally from a default. I would not put it past the Part of Corporatocracy (the Dems are Corporatists-Lite) to strangle the nation for the sake of a few extra bucks in their own pockets. What astounds me is that intelligent people support these asshats.
But I digress.
Obama is taking an appropriate tone here: he's being the dad in the relationship, but not the patriarchal "spare the rod, spoil the child" kind that Republicans know how to manipulate (so many of them are just that type of dad). He's the avuncular dad, the kind who's indulgent of childish behavior and posturing to a point. So long as work is being done towards a deal, he's OK with the whining and grandstanding, but the time has come, the clock is ticking and the deal will get done.
Without or without Cantor. It's interesting that Boener has ceded this authority to his major domo. It's indicative of either his concurrence or capitulation.