President Obama called out the called out the the Republicans as deficit reduction frauds, and turned the fiscal cliff into permanent political damage for the right on Meet The Press.
Here is the video from NBC News:
David Gregory asked Obama what he thought it was about him that was so hard for the Republicans to say yes to.
The president answered,
That’s something you’re probably going to ask them. David, you follow this stuff pretty carefully. The offers I’ve made to them have been so fair, a lot of Democrats get mad at me. I offered to make some significant changes to our entitlement programs in order to reduce the deficit. I offered not only a trillion dollars in spending cuts over the next ten years, but these changes would result in even more savings in the next ten years, and would solve our deficit problem for a decade.
They say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they’re behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected. That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme. And at some point, I think what’s going to be important is that they listen to the American people.
The president is doing a masterful job of placing the blame where it belongs. He shot down the idea that he is responsible for a deal not being done. (This is the main Republican talking point, and the one that the mainstream media has happily latched on to.) Obama has taken his case to the American people, and shown the the deal that he offered Republicans.
That proposal, which part of the left was so outraged about, has given the president the credibility and public support he needs to push harder for the agreement that he really wants. The president has always wanted the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans. He has so thoroughly turned the tables on the Republicans that they are asking him if he will put off some of the defense cuts if they raise taxes on the wealthy.
President Obama played the ‘angry left.’ (The supposed progressives who are the first to break into hysterics and cry Obama caved over every move he makes.) The president floated a proposal which he knew would be dead as a door nail, just to expose Republicans as the deficit reduction frauds that they are. The outrage of the angry left gave Obama the ability to go on Meet The Press today and tell the country that he is reasonable that he is willing to offer a proposal that his own base disagrees with. (That proposal was taken off the table when Boehner’s Plan B stunt blew up in his face.) The part he left out was that anybody who understands the mechanics of today’s Republican Party already knew that were going to reject anything he offered that included raising taxes on the wealthy.
Obama is using the Republicans own behavior against them to further damage the Republican Party brand. He is doing Democrats a favor for 2016 and beyond. The president is going to get the tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans no matter what happens, so this is really about continuing to define the Republican Party as a non-option.
What the president is doing now is carving the image of the GOP as the party only of the rich in stone for years to come. Obama is making sure that the Republicans’ fiscal cliff blunder is transformed into their own permanent nightmare.
Long after taxes have been raised, this destruction of the Republican brand will linger in voters’ minds for years to come.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association