Friday, January 04, 2013

Boehner's mature negotiating

By Frank Moraes

(Ed. note: For more on Boehner's latest move, see Jon Chait, who notes that the deal that was reached didn't come from the Obama-Boehner negotiations but was only achieved when the White House went around the House and dealt first with the Senate. So Republicans in the House are dealing with the fact that a deal was reached after they pulled out of negotiations by saying they won't do any more negotiating with the president? Yes, they're insane. -- MJWS) 

The Hill reported a couple of day ago that Boehner is angry at that weasel President Obama. The article says that Boehner "spent weeks shuttling between the Capitol and the White House for meetings with the president in hope of striking a grand bargain on the deficit." Horrors! He must be exhausted! All that shuttling... The solution: all negotiations will be held at a Starbucks equidistant from the White House and the Capitol.

I'm just kidding! Boehner isn't being that reasonable. Instead, he is all butt-hurt that the president was mean to him. Boehner claims, "Those efforts [for a Grand Bargain] ended in failure, leaving Boehner feeling burned by Obama and, at times, isolated within his conference." The solution: Boehner's taking his toys and going home.

Now I'm not kidding! Boehner is not going to negotiate with the president anymore. He's just going to pass his bills in the house and hope to put pressure on the Senate. Or something. The Hill says that this is going to be hard for Boehner because he is a weak speaker. Also: blah, blah, blah.

What is really going on is this: Boehner is talking tough to save face. If he went back and tried to negotiate with Obama about something else, people would be doing in public what they are largely doing in private: laughing at him. Everyone (other than perhaps president Obama) knows that the negotiations failed primarily because Boehner couldn't provide the votes. In other words: he was like a union negotiator who represented no workers.

There is another side of this new stance by the speaker. He knows that the debt ceiling is coming up. And he knows that Obama has claimed he won't negotiate. So Boehner is giving Obama the old "I'm rubber and you're glue" business. "You won't negotiate with me? Well how do like this: I'm not negotiating with you!"

It's all so very mature!

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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