Yes, it has the makings of a classic movie Mexican-standoff. But the debt deal that pits a Tea Party-infused Republican party against a President who talks about negoitating with Putin (but not his opposition party!) have a good bit of work ahead of them. How to proceed?
In Bloomberg View, Rohit Kumar offers advice to the Grand ol’ Party:
As the former deputy chief of staff for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, I spent many nights and weekends in the Capitol helping broker the last three fiscal agreements between Congress and the Obama administration: the 2010 extension of the George W. Bush tax cuts, the 2011 debt limit increase and the 2013 fiscal cliff deal. These talks have a rhythm, and what we’re seeing now is a predictable pre-negotiation alignment by the two sides.
Obama’s refusal to negotiate is pure posturing, an opening bid. The president seems to hope congressional Republicans will move from their preferred starting position — repealing Obamacare and securing budget savings equal to the amount of the debt-limit increase — to a middle ground that will “force” him to come to the table. Republicans could seek a delay of the individual and employer insurance mandate, the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, or both, instead of a full repeal of the health-care law. The more reasonable the Republicans’ request is, the harder it will be for the president to refuse to engage them.
The strategy is based on the notion that there is a solid constituency for Tea Party Republicans to do what they say they will do–namely, shrink the Federal government by any means necessary.
And then rather than talk about deficits, Greece, entitlements, and how the size of government is unsustainable, Republicans should go the optimistic route; talking about how the federal government’s loss is the private sector’s certain gain. Indeed, they should talk about how much more we’ll have, including many more Microsofts, Intels, and Apple AAPL +1.15% products that will make the iPad seem dated, if the size and cost of government shrinks. They should talk about how Henry Ford’s quite speedy ability to mass produce the once unimaginable luxury that was the automobile was directly related to his being able to retain Ford Motor F +2.25% Company’s profits in order to re-invest in the perfection of car manufacture. They should talk about how Jeff Bezos, Fred Smith and Warren Buffett are much better allocators of capital than are John Boehner, Harry Reid and Barack Obama.
It doesn’t take a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag to make you appreciate this approach? None other than MSNBC Harball’s Chris Matthews calls the Ted Cruz strategy “genius” for its clarity of purpose and chances for success.