Saturday, July 30, 2011

Obama worst Presidential negotiator ever?

It's ironic, that the man who became President because of his incredible speaking ability, who overcame a complete lack of experience or ability by the sheer power of his speeches, is quite possibly the worst negotiator in the history of the Presidency.  There was some evidence this could happen even before he was elected, let's remember back to the Primaries of 2008.  Obama won Iowa, Hillary won New Hampshire, and eventually John Edwards withdrew from the race leaving it just down to the two of them to decide the nominee.  It seemed that if Obama could get that Edwards endorsement, it could put the race away.  A grand meeting was scheduled, at the home of John and Elizabeth Edwards, and Obama made the trip to snag that major endorsement.  Only it didn't happen.  While they wanted to support Obama over Hillary, there was a minor problem in that Elizabeth favored the 'individual mandate' form of socialized medicine, while at the time Obama was campaigning against that idea.  Of course as we all know Obama eventually passed just such a law, but at the time he was adamantly opposed to it, so much so that he actually got into an argument with Elizabeth Edwards over the issue!  His inability to handle that disagreement ultimately cost him the Edwards endorsement, and as we all know the Primary eventually became one of the longest, most dragged out primaries of modern times.  In the end it didn't matter, Obama still won and Edwards ended up being a criminal, so it all worked out for the best for him, but the fact remains that he blew a huge, easy to get endorsement, because of his complete lack of negotiation skills.

Fast forward to these 'Debt Ceiling' negotiations.  John Boehner and the House Republicans pass 'Cut Cap and Balance', a bill that was overwhelmingly popular with roughly 2/3 of Americans supporting it according to the polling.  They had a winning hand, but instead of playing it they chose to enter negotiations with the White House.  In those negotiations, John Boehner agreed to 800 billion dollars in increased taxes, major tax increases in a time of economic distress.  However, for some strange reason Obama wasn't satisfied with that, and suddenly demanded 1.2 Trillion in tax hikes instead!  Demanding an extra 400 billion dollars in tax increases resulted in the seemingly spineless John Boehner suddenly (and temporarily) growing a set, and ending all negotations with the White House, and in the process walking out on the 800 billion dollar tax hike he had already agreed to.  Obama had won, he had obtained the huge tax hike he wanted, he could've made John Boehner look like a tax-and-spend Democrat, he had pretty much everything he wanted, and he somehow found a way to blow it bigtime.  Now all signs point to Boehner and Harry Reid eventually doing a deal involving NO tax increase whatsoever!  An incredible turn of events thanks to an even more incredible blunder, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and when it comes to negotiations that is something Obama has proven to be very good at.  So is it a good thing or a bad thing that our President is so horrible at negotiating?  I suppose it depends on your point of view.  Certainly in this most recent case I'd say its a VERY good thing.  But in any event, he defniitely seems to be the worst negotiator in Presidential history.

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