Daniel Henninger reminds us of how much deal-making skill Barack Obama has – that would be exactly zero:
Presidents, kings, queens, generals all have accomplished a modus vivendi with their opponents and mortal enemies. Until now. What deal of Clintonesque majesty has Barack Obama ever pulled off?
The fiscal-cliff negotiation is a train driven by an engineer who doesn’t know how to use the brake, doesn’t know where the brake is and doesn’t care. His idea of politics is giving campaign speeches outside Washington to assemble a Sandy of public sentiment that will blow congressional Republicans off the cliff.
Politics ain’t beanbag, but it also isn’t just about politics. While Barack Obama may think his election mandate includes the ruin of the Republican Party, Republicans seeking a strategy of self-preservation should assert their refusal to participate in the ruin of the nation. As it is, the fiscal cliff has degenerated into a familiar Beltway melodrama in which the media reduce the whole thing to which party gets shafted. As to the health of the gasping American economy, well, whatever.
And this should be a reminder to the republicans of the 2010 elections – and why they won. They got a straight up monster victory because the people wanted spending controlled.
It would be a really bad idea to forget that right now. Really, really bad.
Start from the assumption that Barack Obama wants to go over the cliff. Work from there.