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Last night (or early this morning as it were) I wrote a little at Michelle’s place about the breakdown of the Obama/Boehner debt ceiling talks.
If you saw the president’s hastily constructed press conference, it was classic Obama: Scaring the old and the poor as well as predicting a market panic on Monday. Just the kind of things all responsible Chief Executives do, right?
What happened was this — actually, the Republicans caved a little. Boehner offered Obama $800 billion in tax increases (revenue through “overhauling the tax code”) and an increase in the debt ceiling provided there were at least matching cuts, but Obama wanted $400 billion more in tax increases — that is on top of the $800 billion the Republicans offered.
Now Obama can go back and try to explain to his base and liberal leadership why he turned down $800 billion in tax increases. He wanted more because the “Gang of Six” plan called for over $1 trillion in tax increases and Obama wanted to align himself with that proposal. You’ll notice that Obama is being very careful not to have his own fingerprints on any of this.
The odds now are that the Republicans will return to their original “no increases at all” position and stay there for the foreseeable future. Obama was his own worst enemy on this deal, and the Democrats in Congress are probably happy Boehner wants to remove him from the negotiating loop, though they’d never have the balls to admit that.
At Obama’s press conference, he “summoned” leaders to the White House today. As Charles Krauthammer points out below, Congress and the Executive branch are co-equal. Obama can “summon” nobody. A leader “summoning” other members of government is banana republic stuff — and I wish Boehner would loudly point that out:
Update: The “summoning” ended after less than an hour.