Today Paul Krugman laments a return to the terrible negotiating tactics that were a hallmark of Obama’s first term.
But sure enough, it looks as if Republicans have taken the offer as a sign of weakness, as a starting point from which they can bargain Obama down. Oh, and they’re not giving up at all on the idea of using the debt ceiling for further blackmail.
In other words, all of a sudden it’s feeling a lot like 2011 again, with the president negotiating with himself while the other side enjoys the process.
But while the president is repeating past mistakes in his style of negotiation, I think liberals are mistaking his intentions too. They assume that those things he offers to Republicans as concessions, things that liberals think are bad ideas, are indeed concessions. I don’t know that they are. I think that some of it is simply common ground that Obama offers because he wants it done as well. Despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth by conservatives about our ultra liberal president, Obama is not a liberal at heart or in action. He’s a moderate who leans left on some issues and right on others.
We’ve seen strong and consistent evidence that he isn’t loosing the negotiation on entitlement cuts, he agrees with Republicans, he wants those cuts too. It’s a shame that neither the left nor the right seem to realize it. Or if they do they refuse to admit it.