President Obama Outplayed Republicans Again – So Stop Complaining

It is a safe bet that everyone, at some point in their lives, has jumped to a conclusion based on errant information or, worse, failure to see beyond their own biases. On more than one occasion, President Obama has been the recipient of unfair criticism from the left and members of his own party simply because they failed to comprehend he was thinking several steps ahead of them. Republicans have still not learned this lesson and despite outrage from the left, the so-called CRomnibus passed and John Boehner and Mitch McConnell now understand that the President just punked them again; he also won some major victories in getting the funding bill passed. In fact, as a former anonymous congressional staffer remarked, Obama deftly manipulated Republicans into what is a “Total public repudiation of their ultra-right wing nullification caucus they had planned for the rest of his term.”

First, John Boehner never intended for Congress to pass the CRomnibus. His deceitful plan was to insert what he thought were a couple of poison pills Democrats would rail against so Republicans could pass a very short-term funding bill. In fact, House leadership promised to pull the CRomnibus for lack of votes and replace it with a short-term continuing resolution that would push the entire funding debate into early next year when Republicans could enact their “Obama nullification” agenda for the Koch brothers.

Now, a Republican-controlled Congress has lost its “power of the purse” to eviscerate several federal agencies in 2015. Remember, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had already promised the Koch brothers last June that when Republicans controlled the House and Senate, they would “go after the federal government, all of it” in 2015 by threatening to shut down the government unless Obama caved. It was an ill-advised plan that President Obama anticipated and thwarted.

The Republican leadership intended to use a rash of short term government funding emergencies, and a series of shutdown crises, to force Obama’s hand on several issues including repealing Dodd-Frank in its entirety, eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency, reverse the President’s immigration action, and repeal the health law. It is important to remember, that Republicans were not too concerned about blowback from shutting down the government because they did not suffer any negative repercussions from the October 2013 shutdown as evidenced by their midterm victories last month.

Indeed, there is still a relatively large contingent of Republicans and conservative voters who support using the shutdown threat to blackmail the President to enact a “purely conservative agenda.” That threat is now non-existent because Obama eliminated Republican’s promised plan to use funding the government as leverage to advance the Koch brothers’ agenda for the rest of the President’s term. Republicans cannot use the shutdown threat throughout 2015 and they certainly will not try it going into the 2016 presidential primaries.

There was, and still is, outrage among progressives and liberals alike about the so-called end of the 2010 financial reform law (Dodd-Frank), but the provision inserted into the CRomnibus is relatively insignificant. The lion’s share of the 2010 financial reform law is completely intact, and since the President prevented a Republican Congress from using funding the government to repeal the entire law, it is safe. There is an easy to understand explanation of why the “push-out” rule governing “some” commodities is the least important aspect of Dodd-Frank here. Not only does the provision in the CRomnibus not affect all derivative swaps, it has no impact on most of them and leaves the highly effective financial reform law intact and Republicans have no leverage to repeal or gut the successful law.

One has to give Republicans credit for creativity in devising so-called poison pills to kill the funding bill such as allegedly eliminating the Clean Water Act’s enforcement power. The provision in the CRomnibus prohibited the EPA from using the CWA to regulate backyard and agricultural ponds and ditches, a provision that was already firmly entrenched in the law. However, without investigating exactly what the Republican rider actually said, the idea drew outrage from environmentalists concerned the CWA was finished; including this column.

Even though the idea of cutting retirement benefits is abominable, the rider in the CRomnibus was supported by unions and multi-company plan administrators because some badly-managed pension funds are on the verge of insolvency; and soon. The director of the National Coordinating Committee for Multi-employer Plans saidThis bipartisan agreement gives pension trustees the tools they need to maintain plan solvency, preserves benefits for the long haul, and protects the 10.5 million multi-employer participants. With time, and money, running out on the retirement security of millions of Americans, moving this bipartisan proposal forward now is not only timely, but necessary.” The danger, however, is allowing the Koch brothers’ State Policy Network and American Legislative Exchange Council use the threat of insolvency to go after other pension plans, including public sector plans that are very healthy due to Wall Street’s growth thanks to President Obama’s handling of the economy.  But now that Republicans cannot use funding the government as a hostage, their promise to the Koch brothers will go unfulfilled.

Once again, President Obama has out-maneuvered Republican plans to further wreak havoc on the nation, and although a clean funding bill would have been ideal, it was never going to happen because Republicans. Boehner once again miscalculated the President’s ability to see through a dirty devious plan to hold the country hostage every 60 days with government funding crises that were certain to last throughout the rest of the President’s term. With no shutdown threats to extract concessions the people would regret in the short and long term, the President not only saved the people a world of misery, he outplayed Republicans and eliminated their ability to use the budget process to enact the Koch brothers’ agenda.


View Comments

  • That relatively minor pension thing.. just screwed EVERY person who had a pension that WAS solvent.. it means they're now going to be able to somehow push the MINORITY of pensions which ARE solvent into insolvency and hence federal recievership by putting Liens on them to theoretically bail out the pensions that are already insolvent.Except it won't and can't work because the lack of funding in the insolvent pensions FAR outstrips the entirety of the few that are still solvent. It's stupid and just screws Union Pensions. for me, for MY life.. it's not minor at all.. it was MY retirement..but's cool.. and the dems that voted for it from my state in trouble..

  • Thank you, Rmuse! I've read this analysis elsewhere, so it's great to see you writing it as well.

    If the Left thinks this president is weak and giving away the whole accomplishment of his tenure, that's because they don't read anything but one another - a circular firing squad of "insight".

    We have secured a great deal from this bill in terms of stability of the nation's next two years AND the rout of the Tea Party being able to gut anything at all. By giving up a tiny bit to the GOP, we have once again - as this president has done SO OFTEN - claimed stability for our greater needs and interests long term.

    PBO is not Bill Clinton, not a man to give in, not a lackey of the ruling class at all. Too bad so few 'analysts' actually bother to read that about which they holler.

    We just moved into a period of vastly greater national well being. That's simply amazing given the nature of the next Congress and its purported goals. Wow.

    • "Stability"?
      That's what the People get?

      Good gravy. If the left is going to choose to ignore reality ... and still prefers to believe the myth that Democrats are anti-corporatist and aren't devoted to Wall St. and special interests then all hope of holding your reps. feet to the fire just died an ugly death. least Carville was honest enough to admit it.
      Yeah, dj is going to hate me but I'll cowboy- up and say it anyway. Both sides of the aisle are becoming more and more alike.

      "Vastly greater national well-being"?

      Masterful spin I must admit.

      • Carville is wrong, Rmuse is correct, and you need to look at the depth of policy impacts not just ideology. Two words: Grow Up. I'm sick of faux leftie hyperventillating on issues you actually know NOTHING about because you respond to dog whistles rather than facts. In this respect the left, fancifully constructed, is not much different from the right.

        • Grow Up.
          And tape one of those "Kick Me" signs on my back that you're passing out?

          I'll pass.

          No one has to look at the "depth of policy impacts" to know this bill was for the party bank masters...paid for with pork.
          Cromnibus was a gift basket chock full of special-interest provisions that K Street had been requesting for years... and this bill is an indictment of nearly every member of Congress. It couldn't be any more clear that neither party is working for the voter... and neither side hardly even pretends to anymore. Having an R or D next to their name just indicates which type of corporation or lobbying group's pocket they are in.

          At least conservatives have enough courage to speak the truth. Take that sign off your back and grow a pair. This hyper-partisan, "my party right or wrong" crap, will be the end of all of us.


        • issues you actually know NOTHING about

          Bills like Cromnibus, 1600 pages crafted behind closed doors and presented as must-pass, hurry, hurry legislation is EXACTLY the problem and EXACTLY what legislators use to keep American voters in the dark.

          American voters are all just too stupid to know what's best?
          Nothing but elitist hob-snobbery at its finest.

          • Did you somehow suspect that Americans see any bills before they pass? They can for the most part, but only one in a million do. That adds up to around 300 people.

        • True enough...but the even bigger problem is how many lawmakers were given enough time to read and digest the bill before having to vote on it. Some of trickiest issues get BURIED DEEP in the legislative text.
          Think that's by accident?

    • I am sorry---but you are delusional and are part of the problem. Everything that Obama has done over the past year has been MEANT to weaken this country. I can't believe you can't see that.

  • A republican friend of mine shared a video of Condi Rice stating that the Democrats are always playing the race card. One of the commentators stated she wished Rice ran for President. I decided to let this post slide, I'd be beating a dead horse. In their minds, Obama is Satan's child and Bush is awaiting his sainthood.

    Obama will always out maneuver the GOP because they are shores, umm, robots, Stanford husbands for their limps, error, financial investors, and do as they are told. The Scarecrow has more brains

  • I needed that explanation - Thank you... here is more: WALL STREET MURDERERS: THE PEOPLE told our elected officials not to bail out the banks again, last time it was $40,000 per man women and child and 90% of us didn’t see one dime in this bail out, and resulted in increased poverty and death. And you did it again this time, even worse. Wall Street can now take our pensions, they can take away our Federally Insured savings unless it is in a Credit Union or Public Bank. And when they fail this time we pay them $303 Trillion. Perspective: It would take less than $500 billion to take 222 million people in the US up to poverty line, and it would take the 2 billion in the world out of extreme poverty living on less than $1.25. Where in the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights is the dictate that the Welfare of the Rich and Corporations supersedes/trumps the Welfare of All the People?

    • Please take a while to think things through Ronda. I don't like that we didn't get what we wanted either, but I was bracing for a lot worse after November 4th.

      I was beside myself at first, but I see that President Obama is, as always, playing the long game.

      I'm not saying that just because of this article, although I do agree with Rmuse, but also because I have been reading everything I can find on the subject.

      I am personally willing to give it time and see how this all plays out.

    • The questions the"professional left" never fails to ask are highly relevant questions such as this one: "So how come Republicans snuck bank bailout language into an Omnibus bill that keeps the government funded, the economy rolling, and federal emplyees from losing their jobs (as happend during the last GOP government shutdown)?"

      Meanwhile, it has not escaped notice that the very same individuals "on the left" now whining about this very predicatable state of affairs are the same people who whined about the Dodd-Frank Act to begin with (because Republicans managed to water it down with the same back-handed tactics now on display). Beyond which, they helped elect the very Tea Party Republicans who CAMPAIGNED on repealing ALL regulations and pension programs (including Social Security).

      With that, I have only one more thing to add:

    • No Ronda. No, no, no. Re-read this. You're hyperventilating over data that cannot be supported. And no, we did NOT bail out Wall Street on the taxpayer dime - they REPAID the loans. Bush wanted us responsible. Obama made them repay it. Give up the hair on fire and pay attention - this is NOT Bush or even Clinton. This is canny and useful strategy in a world that has lost its senses. BTW - I sure hope you voted and voted wisely.

      • I wish people would remember that Churchlady. The beginning of the bailouts starting when Bush was still in office was given with no strings attached. When President Obama took office, he made them agree to certain conditions to be met before they got the rest of the bailout money.

  • If the democratic cowards had stood by their President and applauded their accomplishments they might have been reelected. However, the course they've chose is why they are on the outside looking in. The President has to stand alone and fight these Republican bastards all alone. God Bless President Obama.

    • You know T bone, I used to think that the last election was a negative you know for the Democrats, for the president. But if we look deep enough and look at it as a glass half full we would see that the president used it as a glass full of opportunities. The Republicans might have won that election, but they lost the government.

      As so many people have expressed, there is no more blackmailing of the president that can be done, all the fun things have taken place, wall street will not necessarily need to use that little tiny poison pill that they put in the budget. So all in all whatever is left oh and by the way don't forget all the nominations that have been confirmed by the Senate. So all in all the president is the president now going forward, even though the Republicans have a majority in Congress. The president has in his power the veto pen that he can use anytime. Now the repugs will have to be nice to him if they want to pass a bill, not the other way around.

  • I want to believe. I really do. But there are just too many Corporatists in the Democratic Party to believe the rosy scenario posted here.

  • I figured Prez Obama, regulated their asses...Again. Members of the GOP are in urgent need for 55Gal. drums of brain putty. I understand new relations with Cuba, was in the planning for the longest, before the Nov elections been 50 plus years of sanctions that hasn't worked but has the largest supply of old cars in the world. What has a Republican done positive for anyone but themselves. Regulate Mr. President, they've got more coming. They haven't learned yet. Jay leno will have loads fun going after the classic cars by the way.

  • Congress repealed the Stock Act in April 2014 thus approving their "insider trading". They now exist to facilitate Wall Street. Martha Stewart went to jail for what our Congress now does routinely.

    • Much like how Congress voted to cut food stamps while voting themselves farm subsidies. That should be illegal. GOP hates Americans and are crooks and liars. Exit Michele Bachman stage right!

  • Yes - I came back and reread this. So yes - Obama has some breathing room and his actions were very well played. I hope he understands that the American people can't survive without help. He has options. He can get the Fed to rain money - or credit cards on the people. He can issue a titanium coin in the amount of $1,000 per man, women, and child every year. This money would come back in taxes - relieve 90% of us and restart the economy quickly. This is especially true because Republicans will not let us increase Social Security and establish Medicare for all and has cut food stamps increasing the rate of hunger in the US. This is the time his DOJ must go after those that are writing laws that are against Human Rights. Obama must find a way to overturn KILLING LEGISLATION! Where in the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights is the dictate that the Welfare of the Rich and Corporations supersedes/trumps the Welfare of All the People? There is hope!

Recent Posts

Missed Abortion Rights by Minutes: Women in San Antonio Clinic Lobby Told They Had To Leave

The tragic story just continues to pile up the most personal tragedies, including one from…

9 hours ago

Massive Protest Rocks The Supreme Court For Second Day After Roe Is Overturned

The protesters aren't going away and their numbers seem to be growing on the second…

11 hours ago

Four Members Of Congress Ask FTC to Investigate Google and Apple: Selling Information in New Abortion Age

Three Senators and one House Democrat have the foresight to anticipate an increased value and…

13 hours ago

Trump Held A Secret Phone Call With Putin 9 Days Before The Election

Filmmaker Alex Holder revealed that Donald Trump had a secret phone call with Putin 9…

15 hours ago

Trump Is Melting Down Because The 1/6 Hearings Are Blowing Him Away

Donald Trump is reportedly angry because the 1/6 Committee is putting on more compelling television…

16 hours ago

AOC Blasts Back At Panicking Marjorie Taylor-Greene Who Accused Democrats Of ‘Insurrection’

AOC tried to deal with Marjorie Taylor Greene patiently, as an adult who understands the…

17 hours ago