A good compromise, so the saying goes, leaves everybody angry. Judging by that maxim, President Obama’s halfway to a good compromise in his proposed budget deal, as Dana Milbank frames it in his column today. Obama is making the liberal wing of the Democratic Party in Congress — and the liberal organizations that support them — really angry. To Milbank, though, it’s probably a good thing. Showing the people (via the media) that liberals don’t like the plan automatically proves Obama is being a centrist. So while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hates Obama’s proposal, Bernie Sanders protesting it makes it more likely to succeed.
It doesn’t make BallGame1 any more hopeful that the resulting deal will be at all palatable to lefties:
Suspicion of the President Obama’s negotiating tactics is justified. During his first term, while he was pursuing compromises and bargains with far-right Republican obstructions, he repeatedly “negotiated with himself,” thereby making concessions to his right-wing opponents before negotiations with them even began. Has he renounced this self-destructive negotiating style? Let’s hope so.
Which, says mljr, is precisely according to plan:
This is a politically brilliant move on the president’s part. By offering to trim social spending slightly and drawing the anger from the left, he shows the whole country that the Republicans calling him a “socialist” are delusional. Obama is, and always has been, a pragmatic centrist. Most people will see him as the reasonable grown-up in the room.
Hark … I hear Republicans’ heads exploding all over the country.
Adam_Smith thinks it’s a sound strategy, though it didn’t help much getting Obamacare passed:
Obama has been guided in his political tactics by Clinton Administration veterans and Clintonian triangulation all along. His signature achievement, Obamacare, as originally conceived was supposed to pass more easily than it did because of its resemblance to proposals previously viewed with favor by Republicans. Such tactics worked better for Bill because he didn’t face anything like the level of Republican animosity and intransigence that Barack has. Obama, the ex-community organizer, is not the kind of politician, a “visionary” or “ideologue,” who is in politics to fight for policies that he sincerely believes are right for the nation. He is the kind that believes that the legitimate function of politics is the working out of workable compromises. That’s why he needs an ideological backbench to fortify him against a very ideological opposition. Without that he is just bringing a knife to a gun fight.
Tobit thinks that a winning political strategy — making everyone happy by making everyone unhappy — doesn’t necessarily result in, you know, the best policies:
The President shouldn’t take the easy way out and start cutting benefits to the weakest and most vulnerable. There’s plenty of real waste, i.e., administration, that can be cut. Government’s idea is to cut spending/benefits, but leave their own government jobs intact. Same with the military. It won’t work.
johnd17 says making everybody angry doesn’t necessarily result in compromise:
His strategy is to propose something that he knows has no hope of passing the Congress, so he can say he is being obstructed from advancing “common sense” actions.
And OldUncleTom likes a balance in political frothing:
I guess we need the occasional reminder that liberals can be just as stupid and unreasonable as conservatives can be. Ideology cannot govern. Whatever budget deal comes out of the Congress, it will include compromised positions that neither fringe will like very much. Fringes exist to be disappointed and outraged, they appear to have little other purpose.
deeman has an insight of self-awareness brought about by this very commenting medium!
I think I exist on the fringe, by looking at the lack of thumbs-up my comments generate. And so I think fringes do serve a purpose.
Wait, if the fringe exists only to be disappointed, and the people KNOW they are a fringe that exists to be publicly disappointed, how do we know they actually want what they say they want? What if they fully understand that they exist as straw men, phony extremists for use only as a bad example against which to rebel, so as to attain workable public policy? What if Bernie Sanders is actually the biggest centrist in the Senate? What if there is no fringe? PostScript has to go lie down.