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Most of the back and forth in fiscal cliff artifice talking between the White House and Congress has so far been conducted via the media, but as of today the actual sitting down together in rooms to hash stuff out begins.
Instead of the Big Four of Boehner, Pelosi, Reid and McConnell meeting with President Obama at the White House, the President is dispatching his Treasury Secretary and top legislative liaison to the Capitol.

Those two men though won't sit down in one room with the Congressional leaders—instead they will meet separately with them, in a series of one-on-one meetings..

Not in one room, exchanging ideas, but individually.

The beginning of official talks is, of course, leading to rampant speculation on the shape of those talks. But what is arguably more important than what happens in those rooms right now is the ongoing public negotiating. It's setting the stage for what will happen when it gets down to President Obama, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, and Pelosi. Making a public case and using the bully pulpit, as Obama is doing on taxes, will help shape how the behind-closed-doors talks proceed.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:51 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:51:14 AM PST

  •  march on washington. this is ridiculous. (8+ / 0-)

    tone deaf leaders and reps.
    sheesh.
    we need open hearings, discussions, round tables if they're going to negotiate our future (when there's no pressing need to anyway!)
    the fight never ends.  never

    the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die

    Community Organizer trumps Private Equity Manager

    by stagemom on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:01:51 AM PST

    •  Oh I would agree, esp. if the talks bog down (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stagemom

      as is possible. I hear though that behind the scenes progress is being made, but will have to wait and see.

    •  Eventually, this should lead to all that, but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, stagemom

      this is a good opening move. It's sort of like a criminal investigation in that you get them each in a room alone, and then you look for differences in what they say and possible weaknesses in their arguments. Then, you exploit that to peal them apart. Without others there to boost their individual resolve, you may have more of a chance to make a couple switch sides.

      Get them together in front of the cameras first, however, and they are going stiffen their resolve in order to not look weak in front each other and their base.

      I think that has a better chance to work, but I am concerned like everyone else that the farm is going to be given away before negotiations start. That's just the nature of the Middle Man history that follows this administration around.

    •  This negotiating strategy -- no group meetings, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stagemom

      just one on one-- is designed to keep the Congressional participants in the dark, off balance, mistrustful of each other.  
      Surely the public will also be in the dark.  If I thought hard about how to screw the social insurance programs of the New Deal and Great Society, I might could come with a more effective procedure, but I doubt it.

      Heckuva job, POTUS.  Oh and sending Timmy (HAMP was really just to foam the runways for the banks) Geithner over as lead negotiator, that's real good.

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 12:01:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If figures that the way forward (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    magnetics

    in negotiating with a dysfunctional congress...
     would be a complex series of private second hand conversations.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:04:47 AM PST

  •  what's to negotiate (7+ / 0-)

    Obama walks in says I won the election, the taxes are going up for everyone in  a month and you can't do anything but destroy the economic recovery and will be blamed.
    Then say proceed!

  •  The Tax Cuts were sold to us to bring a "surplus" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chmood

    when they were invented in 2001. If they really accomplished what they said they would, why are we arguing about cutting back anything?

  •  Geithner? Are you kidding? (13+ / 0-)

    Why is Geithner still there?  He should be packing his office things and heading to Wall St. where he'll end up anyway.

    Not a good sign for these negotiations.

    •  Why was he ever there? (8+ / 0-)

      He was in charge of oversight of New York banks when they all imploded, due to lack of oversight.

      He was then promoted to the White House, where his notable accomplishments have been throwing money at banks with no strings attached, and opposing Elizabeth Warren's creation of a government department dedicated to protecting consumers.

      I don't recall off the top of my head, but I'm pretty sure he's also one of the reasons the stimulus was low-balled.  As the guy in charge of the United State money supply, he should be strenuously advocating every single day for policies that get money flowing in America, such as jobs stimulus, unemployment benefits, SNAP, etc. etc.  Now he's been put in charge of cutting the social safety net.

  •  Does raising taxes on top 2% avoid sequester? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chmood

    Is the savings from that alone enough to avoid sequester, or would they still need to get more revenue or spending cuts to avoid the automatic cuts?

    •  If it's connected to other things (0+ / 0-)

      and it might be.

      There could be some defense cuts that wouldn't impact much of anything. And some tweaks to some other programs to streamline them and save some money there.

      I find it fascinating that they're talking to them one on one - just like the cops when they're trying to flip a crook into ratting on his buddies.

      They're going to play them off each other.

      "Really? You don't like that idea? Boehner thinks it's fine...he said he's sure he can get enough of his guys behind it to get it passed. So he might be figuring you're not really on his team..."

      Fun times...

    •  No, not enough...and THIS is REAL leverage (0+ / 0-)

      The President told them, back when they set up this whole sequestration hoe-down, that he would not bail them out:   they could fix it themselves, or they could take the entire blame for their flagrant jackassery when the posturing resulted in crashing and burning.

      "Reagan proved deficits don't matter" - Dick Cheney

      by chmood on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 11:21:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am a little confused (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chmood

        I feel stupid, but I don't fully understand the details of the sequester. What is the president hoping to get besides the tax hikes to come up with the rest of the shortfall?

        •  Essentially, Boner insisted on draconian (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          democrattotheend

          across-the-board cuts as the price for raising the debt ceiling last year - on the condition that a "joint congressional task force" could not agree on how to achieve the House GOP's ridiculous spending targets....

          It was seen as pure stagecraft at the time, and many 'pundits' felt that Congress would let itself off the hook by, essentially, voiding the penalty section of the law that contains the sequester provision.

          So what this means is that the whole debt-ceiling polka last year was pure bullying aimed at the President, and the GOP never expected to have to go through with it.  But by refusing to let them wiggle out (ie, refusing to sign the escape-enabling legislation that would be needed), he forces Boner & Co. to capitulate, or anger their wealthy paymasters by letting the automatic cuts shrink their business.

          "Reagan proved deficits don't matter" - Dick Cheney

          by chmood on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 02:08:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  But, but, but....our so-called journalists this am (2+ / 0-)

    are saying it's all about Mittens sitting down to lunch with the POTUS.
    (BTW - Crow is best served to your guest ice cold, Mr. President.)

    100% of America's dogs delighted with election results.

    by jazzmaniac on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:37:42 AM PST

  •  I don't remember Obama using the bully pulpit (5+ / 0-)

    ...to secure the public option or more stimulus.

    I don't buy that he would have lost re-election if he had. Not for one fuckin' second.

    It is time to put his feet to the fire BEFORE he gives the store away. Again.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:39:27 AM PST

  •  The bargain has been Obama's wish the whole time (0+ / 0-)

    he has not been dishonest about it - it was in his inauguration.  The middle class will feel pain, because the elites wish it ... all we are arguing about is degree.

  •  The Republicans WILL NOT negotiate... (7+ / 0-)

    ...in good faith. They represent only the wealthy and will gladly hold the middle class hostage all for the wealthy 1%.

    LET THE TAX CUTS EXPIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:41:15 AM PST

    •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      winsock

      It's probably the only thing that will happen. I don't see Boehner or the House folding and giving Obama what he wants.

      I see Obama folding like he did two years ago...and I would be ECSTATIC to be wrong. Let them expire. Let them go.

      But asking a politician of EITHER stripe to give up a tax cut is like asking a junkie to give up his source...

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:06:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nah (0+ / 0-)

        It doesn't take all the House Republicans to do the right thing, only 25.  Boehner doesn't have to fold and won't vote, as is customary.  It'll be the rest of the "grand bargain" to come later that I'm worried about.

        Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

        by winsock on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:24:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I predict Doooom will be predicted, but not happen (0+ / 0-)

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts http://kagrox.libsyn.com/rss
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:41:29 AM PST

  •  This is not a criticism, just a comment on (1+ / 0-)

    reality for anyone whose rose colored glasses are superglued to your face.

    No matter who you are, don't expect to come out of it with your rear end perfectly intact.

    And who the hell is Grover Norquist???

    by ZedMont on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:45:22 AM PST

  •  Who knew the Republicans had such fragile self (0+ / 0-)

    esteem?  All this hand-holding is just an effort for them to give themselves cover so they can claim they really still hate the President in front of their base.

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:46:06 AM PST

  •  Blech. There is no cliff. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Garrett

    Ending the Bush tax cuts at long last, is not the same thing as the automatic defense and social-spending cuts from the sequestration deal.   Which in turn is not the same as raising the debt ceiling.  Which in turn is not the same thing as planning for reasonable cost containment strategies on medicare.  Which in turn is DAMN well not the same as itty-bitty fixes needed to correct the EXTREMELY successufl and self-funded Social Security program, were it not for the potetnially-disastrous nose-in-the-tent "payroll tax holiday".  

    In other words, we have a lot of fiscal priorities to sort out.  But to g'mush them up together only makes a bigger mess.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:55:42 AM PST

  •  Who wants to bet that Boehner and the Baggers (0+ / 0-)

    ..offer to be realistic, sane, rational, and work toward getting the country moving in the right direction?

    Me neither.

    Hostage taking redux is my bet.

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:02:23 AM PST

  •  Lame Duck President (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, PhilJD, chmood, Code Monkey

    President Obama isn't seeking re-election. The rest of the Democrats are.

    If they are stupid enough to follow President Obama into cutting Medicare or increasing the age of eligibility or "reforming" in a way that's cuts, they really aren't interested in being re-elected.

  •  2014? Are the Democrats interesting in losing? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Code Monkey

    Because if they cut Medicare or any of the entitlements, they  will guarantee a lose in 2014.

  •  So apparently.... (0+ / 0-)

    ..the D's have put on the table what they want in tax increases but the R's are refusing to say what they want in "entitlement" cuts. They want the Prez to hold the bag on the whole thing. So why don't the D's come in the negotiation with $5 billion in Medicare cuts over 10 years and tell them R's either take it or counter offer. It's like these negotiators really DID just fall off the turnip truck. Yeesh.

  •  Politico says Obama's going to cut Medicare: (0+ / 0-)

    "Cut through the fog, and here's what to expect: Taxes will go up just shy of $1.2 trillion -- the middle ground of what President Barack Obama wants and what Republicans say they could stomach. Entitlement programs, mainly Medicare, will be cut by no less than $400 billion - and perhaps a lot more, to get Republicans to swallow those tax hikes. There will be at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and 'war savings.' And any final deal will come not by a group effort but in a private deal between two men: Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). The two men had what one insider described as a short, curt conversation Wednesday night -- but the private lines of communications remain very much open."

    •  Politico says a lot of things. (0+ / 0-)

      There's a lot of speculation in that passage.

      Certainly, though, I won't be surprised if that's the deal that comes out of the talks. And if it is, we need to crush it and fast.

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 11:30:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think meeting one on one... (0+ / 0-)

    could mean "divide and conquer".

    I'm liking it.

  •  Uh Oh - President Obama Is Dispatching Timothy (0+ / 0-)

    Geithner to "negotiate" with Congressional leaders?? That's not exactly good news - Geithner is a Wall St. shill. And I just saw an article in today's Wall St. Journal entitled "Obama Is Flexible On Highest Tax Rates" (as in, he's willing to compromise on keeping the Bush era tax rates on the top 2%). Now, I know the Wall St. Journal is a conservative rag, but Obama better NOT be "flexible" on increasing taxes on the wealthy!! He doesn't need to be flexible - all he needs to do is tell the Rethugs that he is willing to keep tax rates on those making under $250K at their current rates while letting the top 2% rates go to Clinton era levels - take it or leave it. If the GOP leaves it, then let the Bush tax rates expire on Dec. 31 on everyone, and come back with a retroactive lower tax rate on those making under $250K in January after the new Congress is sworn in.  Obama better not blow this!!

  •  I don't want Geither negotiating on my behalf! (0+ / 0-)

    End of discussion.

    The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

    by magnetics on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 10:56:35 AM PST

  •  Now we see how far down the river we are sold (0+ / 0-)

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