The media narrative is wrong, Obama is the one with no way out.
A comment by Chuck Schumer yesterday over Senate Democrats’ refusal to pass House funding bills for the NIH’s clinical trials for children with cancer, and similar House bills for veterans and national parks, pretty much sums up how Democrats’ seething hatred of the Tea Party movement has clouded Democrats’ thinking and ability to govern (via John McCormack at The Weekly Standard)(emphasis added):
As Politico reported Thursday, during the 1995 government shutdown congressional Republicans and President Bill Clinton were able to agree to a “stopgap bill to assure funding for veterans, welfare recipients and the District of Columbia.”
Why won’t Senate Democrats and President Obama agree now to any more stopgap funding bills?
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York told THE WEEKLY STANDARD following a noon press conference Thursday that in 1995 “it was a different world.” Why is that? “Because we have a Tea Party,” Schumer said without elaborating as he walked away.
We have seen similar irrational conduct by every senior Democrat, from Obama on down to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and so on.
Anyone who thinks this is a reaction to the current funding dispute is ignorant of history.
Nancy Pelosi wrote an Op-Ed for USA Today over the summer calling Tea Party anti-Obamacare protesters “Un-American.” That wasn’t the summer of 2013, it was the summer of 2009, August 11 to be precise. That summer Pelosi also derided the Tea Party as Astroturf and just a puppet.
Chuck Schumer’s hatred of the Tea Party long predates the current funding crisis. In November 2011, Schumer stopped Mike Lee from meeting with Tea Party supporters in the Capitol, sending security to remove them as the meeting was getting started.
Since the start of the Tea Party movement in the late winter and early spring of 2009, Democrats have been demonizing the movement in the most crude terms. Every time there is a public act of violence, the immediate response is to look for a Tea Party connection, which never is found.
It’s not surprising that in the past couple of weeks we have heard Democratic Party eliminationist rhetoric become even more shrill and hateful:
1. “Unhinged” Arsonists (Wasserman-Schultz)
2. Insane People Who “Have Lost their Minds” (Harry Reid)
3. “People with a Bomb Strapped to their Chest” (aka Terrorists)(Dan Pfeiffer)
4. Blatant Extortionists (Jay Carney)
5. “Legislative Arsonists” (Nancy Pelosi)
This hatred has forced Democrats into a destructive non-negotiation position. Having framed the opposition as terrorists and suicide-bombers, Democrats have created a negotiation analogy from which it is hard to back down.
Democrats now will not even support funding they support, even for kids with cancer, because that would be giving in to what they perceive as terrorism.
Obama is part and parcel — and perhaps the driving force — behind this non-negotiation strategy. He even used the analogy yesterday of Republicans holding a gun to the country’s head, an analogy he has used before.
The popular wisdom in the media and among some Republicans, is that Republicans are trapped.
Just the opposite is true.
Obama and the Democrats are trapped by their hatred of the Tea Party.
Republicans in the House and most in the Senate have been flexible, floating various bills and alternatives which give everybody something — e.g. full funding of Obamacare with modification of two unpopular provisions (the preferences given to Congress and businesses over ordinary citizens).
That outcome would not be viewed as a victory for Republicans, who really want to defund Obamacare; many would view it as a loss. But it’s a middle ground which could have provided a face saving out for everyone. It would have shown flexibility by Obama to make Obamacare better than it currently is, while Republicans would have had to defer at least until the next election the ultimate goal. It would have maintained a better status quo than we currently have.
But because Obama was in no-negotiation-with-terrorists mode, less than all was viewed as an unacceptable loss.
The demonization of the Tea Party leaves Obama no choice but to predict default on national debt, a threat he know does not have to be realized under any scenario other than by design, and to try to talk down the markets to pressure the purported-terrorists into capitulating.
Victory or collapse is not a good place to be in for a President of the United States. It becomes a disastrous self-fulfilling prophecy.
When a political opponent paints himself into a corner, that’s often a good thing. But not when that person is the President of the United States.
I don’t know how Obama steps the country down from the no-negotiation ledge on which he is trapped.