It is difficult not to have great respect for anyone who accommodates working with morons incapable of producing any useful result for a problem regardless how large or small the intended goal may be. Parents and teachers learn to recognize the pointlessness of reasoning with petulant young children, and yet they exercise patience and continue guiding them despite the seeming futility of their effort out of concern for the welfare of children in their care. President Obama has learned that dealing with Republicans is an exercise in futility regardless the issues facing the nation, and in private he must acknowledge that it is seemingly impossible to negotiate with ideologues who ran for office for the sole purpose of obstructing the government and causing as much damage as possible as ideological purists.
Throughout the President’s first term, Republicans opposed every single proposal and piece of legislation President Obama supported in spite of the damage to the nation’s security and economic health, and the fiscal cliff negotiations have amplified the GOP’s intransigence despite the damage their obstruction will wreak on economic recovery. When House Speaker John Boehner’s absurd Plan B failed to garner enough Republican support to pass the House, he joined forces with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to demand the White House and Senate Democrats submit a proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff so House Republicans could take up the bill and do what they went to Washington for; reject it out of hand.
One could hardly blame the President if he threw up his hands and announced that negotiating with Republicans was nugatory, but like a longsuffering parent desperate to keep their child from making a tragic error, President Obama continues prodding obstinate Republicans to prevent a recession, credit default, and defense cuts the GOP can hardly comport. However, with only four days until sequestration cuts and tax increases take effect, it appears Republicans are content to let the nation go over the fiscal cliff. What is ridiculous is that Boehner and McConnell know the President does not believe House Republicans will even consider any proposal that is not 100% spending cuts and permanent Bush-era tax cuts for all income earners, but that is part of their strategy.
It is frivolous to think for a minute the contentious House Republicans will accept any deal coming out of the White House, especially after they rejected Boehner’s Plan B proposal. Boehner’s plan kept in place all the sequester domestic cuts and heaped more despair on most Americans, kept Bush tax cuts in place for 99.81% of income earners, and eliminated defense cuts due to take effect on January 1st. Now, if Boehner could not rally support to pass a plan to devastate domestic spending, what makes him or McConnell think the same Republicans would vote for a new offer from the White House? Truth be told, they are aware the Republican caucus has no greater desire than to let the economy go over the cliff so they can start the 113th Congress and hold the American people, economy, debt ceiling, and credit rating hostage precisely as McConnell promised over a year ago, and that is the strategy.
Boehner and McConnell’s phony demand the President send them an offer Republicans will support is a canard because there is nothing the GOP will support regardless the concessions, and both men know it. In fact, they are counting on being able to reject the President’s proposals no matter how favorable they are to Republicans. The last offer the President made was a good compromise Republicans could have supported in a different world, but this is the end of 2012 and rejecting any fiscal cliff offer is part of their plan hatched after the failure of the super-committee last year. The sequestration and its series of automatic spending cuts and expiring tax breaks was created by Republicans committed to never raising taxes, and despite their rhetoric to the contrary, Boehner is well aware his teabagger caucus will crash the economy and cause a credit default to see the government come to a halt, and he will attempt to use that as leverage to no avail.
House Republicans had every opportunity to avoid sequestration cuts and tax increases, and the notion that it falls on Senate Democrats to save the economy from the cliff is laughable. The Senate passed tax cuts for 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses months ago, but Boehner will not bring it up for a vote. The President’s proposal compromised on taxes and spending cuts that disappointed liberals and progressives, but it was a good-faith effort to meet the Republicans half way and still keep the economy in recovery, and perhaps that is what rankled Republicans most; the President’s success at growing the economy. Boehner and McConnell will not accept any compromise because they are panting to hold the nation hostage to extract more tax and spending cuts from Democrats regardless the cost to the economy, and it will blow up in their faces in 2013.
Boehner will not push for any deal because he understands he will lose his job if he accepts any White House compromise, and the result will be another debt ceiling crisis that will lead to another credit downgrade because rating agencies like S&P will know that regardless the damage to the economy, Republicans are incapable of compromise that makes governing impossible. The worst case scenario is a credit default teabaggers believe is beneficial for eliminating funding to operate the government, and if Boehner cannot convince them it means economic disaster, then the nation is in for a rough 2013 which appears to be the Republican goal. However, President Obama’s patience with Republicans will not last forever and after making good faith efforts to compromise on spending and taxes, he is in a position of power Republicans grossly underestimate.
The Republicans will let the fiscal cliff pass without acting, because compromise is anathema to them and it will be their death knell. However, it should disturb even hardline Republicans that their party is keen to subvert the economy and willing to jeopardize the full faith and credit of the United States for no other reason than leverage for lower taxes and steeper domestic cuts. Republicans were in control of the House for two years, and in that brief time they caused the nation’s only credit downgrade, this absurd fiscal cliff, a near credit default, threats to shut down the government, and several hostage situations, and they show no signs of letting up heading into the 113th Congress, and they have no compunction exposing the American people to unnecessary distress and it defines them as the evil monsters they really are.