WASHINGTON, D.C., November 30, 2012 — President Obama should take some time off to see the movie “Lincoln.”
Abraham Lincoln understood the art of legislating. He knew how to deal, how to cajole, how to play his hand and not overreach, and how to do it in a way that would enable some of his political opponents to save face. He understood that he sometimes needed to get the hard liners in his own party – like Thaddeus Stevens – to tone down their rhetoric so as not to offend the swing voters in the Democratic Party that were needed to pass the 13th amendment.
President Obama can learn from that approach.
The president’s plan to avert the “fiscal cliff” calls for $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $50 billion in stimulus spending, and $400 billion in Medicare savings. The New York Times deemed the plan “loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts.”
It was immediately rejected by Republicans. “I’m disappointed in where we are, and disappointed in what’s happened over the last couple weeks. Going over the fiscal cliff is serious business. And I’m here seriously trying to resolve it. And I would hope the White House would get serious as well,” House Speaker John Boehner said.
The plan was a nonstarter for Republicans, and The White House probably knew it. So why do it? He did to prove a point. He did it to score points with Democrats, and show Republicans that he has the leverage to get whatever he wants. After all, he won re-election convincingly, and campaigned on raising taxes on high-income earners.
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