Sunday, January 13, 2013

Does Obama really want to be a Republican?

You have to wonder, since Treasury's announcement that the platinum coin option is off the table in the debt ceiling fight that's in practice now under way. That means to me that the Obama Administration is going all out to get his Grand Bargain to cut benefits on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. There's no other good reason to take two major option, the 14th Amendment option and now the platinum coin, off the table at this point.

Obama is often compared to Clinton because of the deals he's made with Republicans. But there's a notable difference. Clinton first put up a fight for his position and compromised afterward. Obama can't wait to start making concessions. I was reminded of this reading Ezra Klein's Treasury: We won’t mint a platinum coin to sidestep the debt ceiling Wonkblog 02/12/2013: "Nevertheless, many top Democrats believed that the White House needed some kind of fallback option. Former president Bill Clinton said that if he were in office, he would invoke the 14th Amendment to call the debt ceiling unconstitutional 'without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me'."

Digby (No more bargaining chips Hullabaloo 01/12/2013) cites this piece by Joe Weisenthal, COINTASTROPHE: White House Rules Out The Trillion Dollar Coin Option To Break The Debt Ceiling Business Insider 01/12/2013. He quotes Paul Krugman from an e-mail, ""So, are they planning moral obligation coupons / scrip, are they willing to court disaster, or are they just hopeless negotiators? I guess we'll find out." And quotes an anonymous "Democratic aide" as saying, "it's certainly a strange negotiating strategy to go out of your way to decrease your leverage by taking options off the table."

Digby doesn't think it's strange at all: "it's fair to say that anything they agree to from now on should be seen as something they wanted, not something they needed."

More confirmation that for the next three to six months, we're going to be seeing a fight between supporters of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, on the one hand, and their opponents Obama and the Republicans on the other.

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