Not a negotiation, but a hostage sitution

Great post from Ezra:

President Obama’s news conference was meant to drive home his position that he won’t negotiate with Republicans over the debt ceiling.

But Republicans want those negotiations. And they think they’ve found a winning message to get them: How can Obama be willing to negotiate with Vladimir Putin but not with John Boehner? …

Let’s run the analogy out.

Imagine that Putin stepped forward tomorrow morning and announced that Russia had developed a computer virus that would shut down the market for U.S. Treasuries and that he would release that virus unless Obama agreed to a list of Russian demands.

No one would say Russia was asking for negotiations with Obama. They would say Russia was holding the U.S. economy hostage and demanding that Obama pay a ransom. No Republican — and no Democrat — would advice Obama to take that meeting. The sole question would be prevention and, if necessary, reprisal.

This is the core disagreement between the White House and the Republican Party. The Republican Party thinks it’s offering the White House something it wants — the continued creditworthiness of the United States of America — in return for things the GOP wants, like a one-year delay on Obamacare.

But the White House doesn’t see an increase in the debt limit as something that the Republicans are giving them. As Obama put it in his news conference: “Paying America’s bills is not a concession to me. That’s not doing me a favor.” …

The reason Republicans aren’t interested in those negotiations is they don’t want to give anything up to get the things they want. That’s why they like negotiating over the debt ceiling: Since they also don’t want the the U.S. to lose its creditworthiness and fall back into financial crisis, raising the debt ceiling is not actually giving anything up. It’s releasing a hostage they never wanted to shoot.

The GOP argues the fact that they don’t want to vote to raise the debt ceiling makes it a concession to the White House. The White House disagrees. But that — and not negotiations in general — is the core issue. If Putin came to Obama with anything akin to the GOP’s position on the debt ceiling, it would be perceived not as an opening for negotiations, but as a prelude to war.

Exactly!  And so far beyond the realm of ordinary politics of “both sides…”  If only the media would actually report it that way instead of the endless, “both sides fail to agree…” etc.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

7 Responses to Not a negotiation, but a hostage sitution

  1. rrredmeat says:

    Reblogged this on rrredmeat and commented:
    The real problem with Obama-care is that we can’t afford it. Even if it was a good idea to force universal health care down people’s throats ( which I don’t think it is) the financial reality is that we cannot afford this legislative craziness…Has anyone got the numbers ready to hand about hoe much ADDITIONAL cost Obama-care represents to our bankrupt nation?

  2. rrredmeat says:

    Is it just me, or are the Republican demands relatively MILD? The tax on medical equipment and the dropping of juicy health benefits for the Washington elite are SMALL. Republicans are being the reasonable ones here’s. Why doesn’t the press ever report that!?

    • David says:

      Republicans are demanding this as a condition for funding the rest of the government, and they are also demanding a one-year delay of the ACA, the major portions of which are basically ready to go. I am sure Obama would be willing to negotiate over the medical equipment tax if the Rs were willing to offer an equivalent amount of agreeable spending cuts or tax increases. They are not. They are just sniping and grandstanding.

      HOWEVER; They are demanding basically the entire Romney platform as a condition for lifting the debt ceiling, aka, allowing the government to pay bills that have already been enacted into law. A couple days’ shutdown of the government is nothing compared to a the shock of not being able to pay for things already enacted into law.

  3. Mike from Canada says:

    I would think if Republicans were serious about governing and about fixing any possible negative outcomes of the ACA they would offer solutions to problems for a healthcare system they invented.

    And they would have started years ago. But they have no interest in fixing the problem, they just want to go back to the days before the ACA without fixing any of the problems with US healthcare.

    I wouldn’t personally believe the Republicans when it comes to information on the ACA. (or anything else) They have not been exactly the rational player. As David’s PDF link shows, costs are expected to go down. Further the increase in insurance costs has been going on for decades as has the shift of US businesses to part time. Many are blaming the ACA for changes they are making now, for laws that don’t go into effect for another year. So is it really the fault of the ACA, or is this just a handy excuse to do what they have already been doing?

    What do the Republicans have to replace the ACA with? How are they going to help people who can’t get insurance at any price, and those who have to pay more then their mortgage for health insurance?

  4. Mike from Canada says:

    If Republicans succeed the US political and government system will be thrown into turmoil and chaos as the US political system devolves into a yearly death match. This is third world politics being practiced by Republicans in America.

    The CEO Carl Camden points out that companies can move anywhere these days. They can go to countries that have stable governments. Camden is taken to task for his false equivalence argument by commenters. He says both parties have become more extreme as they lost their ‘middles’. As usual the journalist fails to challenge the false assertion.

    Many US citizens decry and hate their government and feel governments can’t do anything right. But not all governments are the same. Many citizens of other countries are happy with their governments. Or at least not stockpiling weapons and food for the revolution. They criticize, but everyone does that. All and all, they are generally satisfied, especially when they compare their government to the USA system of late.

    I wonder what it is that has moved the US to this point.

  5. Henrietta Jenrette says:

    Let’s call it what it is – an attempted coup. No, coup is not too strong a word.
    What we have is a law, not a bill, the AFA. It was passed in a constitutionally legal way with a majority vote. The Constitution doesn’t even mention political parties let alone that legislation be bipartisan. Then the President signed the bill and it became a law. It’s consitutionality was tested by the Courts and the Supreme Court ruled it was constitutional.
    The political campaign of 2012 tested the policy of the AFA. Who can forget the GOP presidential candidate saying many times that on Day One he would “repeal and replace Obamacare”.
    President Obama was reelected by a substantial majority.
    Now the GOP, the radicals and the enablers, is trying to negate the vote of the people of the United States as expressed in the consitutionally approved way – an election, not a poll.
    If the Republicans do not fail in this coup attempt, they will have made it possible to fundamentally change the constitutional process thereby giving minorities into the far future a precedent to veto duly enacted laws by extortion.
    The Constitution which all Congress people swear to defend and protect establishes majority rule with the rights of the minority protected. This new tactic by the GOP is a recipe for continued chaos and financial and political instability.

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