A Negotiation Guide for Republicans

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.

via How Republicans Can Win Debt Fight – Bloomberg.

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.


5 thoughts on “A Negotiation Guide for Republicans”

  1. Great post! Both sides are going to have to make compromise if they want to achieve their goals. The two-party system of our government is going to become a crutch rather than an advantage if both sides are too stubborn to negotiate. Senator Boehner made a great point saying that you can’t agree to negotiate with Putin and not with your own Congress. Personally, I have always stood by Obama’s willingness to make compromise and negotiate. Unfortunately, he seems to have learned the one thing many people blamed Republicans of: stubbornness.

  2. I feel as though every time I post about politics I reiterate the same thing, but I think that it’s even more pertinent here. As the deadline draws nearer, and the government is threatening a shut down, I wish the congressmen would take a second to realize that the power they have to shut down the government was given to them by people who are trusting them to act in their best interests, and a government shut down is in no one’s best interests, so I have to agree with the above comment that they need to learn to negotiate, and fast. If not, thousands of government employees (my own father included) who have already been hit hard by the sequester put in place earlier this year will once again find themselves not coming into work, and not being paid. I also have to agree with the above post that our 2 party system has turned into a crutch. The government has become so polarized that the government keeps threatening shut down. I don’t know if it’s just because I wasn’t old enough to remember or even notice, but it seems that these threats of government shut down have been happening much more often during Obama’s presidency than they ever did before. This is unacceptable. If the government stops working for the people, what happens then? Should we go back to the document that declared our right to set up this government in the first place and follow its advice?


  3. This is definitely a complex situation, and it will be fascinating to see how it plays out (particularly with the deadline approaching). If there isn’t compromise by both sides, nothing will get done. If that is the case and the government shuts down, it will be interesting to see which side takes most of the blame. This is a key moment that will influence the elections next year. Whichever side is able to come off the best in the public’s eye will have won a huge victory.

  4. It is very disappointing to see such childish antics being played by Congress. How many times do we have to sit through the Republicans once again wasting our time and theirs with yet another procedural vote to overturn Obamacare? At this point it’s just for show. We get it, you don’t like it. But when did it become okay to hold the entire government’s ability to function hostage in order to get your way? I recently read that 97% of the employees at NASA will be furloughed when the government shuts down. On top of this, many employees whose jobs are deemed critical, like air traffic controllers, will still be required to come to work but without pay. While the usefulness of NASA and other government organizations is a debate that can be had, there is no denying that these petty games are having a real impact on hard-working, everyday citizens. If this shutdown is actually going to happen then it seems only right that Congress’s pay should be withheld as well.

    Here is a handy link to what will happen when the shutdown occurs:

  5. The inefficiency of our government surprises me. Our representatives need to not only represent the constituency but also work with others. Hopefully the government shut down will be temporary and be resolved.

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