Obama & Compromise

From the the day the deal actually went down, TPM Reader MM on Obama’s need to compromise …

I think another way to think about that “wanting to get a deal done” by Obama is this: he is strongly inclined to send the message that he is siding with people. If you listen to what the man on the street is saying, like the out of work steelworker who was on “Marketplace” tonight, it’s “Put aside your differences and get a deal done”. That’s the general ask from the populace, they are tired of a dysfunctional government, but it’s typically low-attention-span on the details and I think that’s less-so right now.

This is the most visible of all of the political faceoffs we’ve had, and it comes with the high theater of the take-home pay of everyone who works hanging in the balance. And it’s over new years to boot. So *everyone* is watching. There’s something to be said for Obama making it clear that he’s willing to compromise, esp. if it might net out at the same place as if he refused the deal.

As I write this there are I believe still 3 ways that this deal could be derailed: a liberal senator blocking it, the Senate GOP filibustering it, or the House GOP shutting it down. So there’s still probably a 30% chance this deal doesn’t make it through. Whoever pulls the plug will be the bad guy with the vast majority of Americans who care more about a deal getting done than the details of that deal.

We all agree that if we go over the cliff then Obama has a better negotiating position. So he is in the same place as if he’d not put an 11th hour deal on the table, but he also then has a halo of public sentiment (though not his party’s left wing) as being more positive than Congress. And that could be useful for a while, esp. when he considers taking unilateral actions like recess appointments or executive orders, etc.