Apparently John Boehner has read neither Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” or basic primers on negotiating.
Once again the Democrats are running circles around the Republicans, and setting them up to take the fall. And the Republicans are obliging them.
Deathly afraid of being accused for being responsible for the “fiscal cliff,” the Boehner Republicans have entered into “negotiations” with B. Hussein Obama. Those of us in the real world understand the Obama never had any intention of negotiating in good faith, and that any resulting “deal” would then be one-upped by the Democrat-controlled Senate, which is waiting in reserve (query why Boehner would even commence negotiations without the Senate Democrats also at the table). DUH! In negotiating there’s a concept called BATNA: “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” The Republican BATNA right now should be to (in effect) walk away from the table and throw the whole mess into the hands of the Democrats … albeit with a smile and appearance of cooperation and goodwill.
At this point, if he only had a brain, Boehner would flip the entire dynamic on its head by calling a press conference and announcing something along the lines of: “Thus far negotiations with the President have proven unproductive, and Senate Democrats have been weighing-in from the sidelines propounding intransigent positions. Their stated rationale is that ‘they won the election, and elections have consequences.’ So true. As the Democrats control two of the three entities involved, it is time for them to demonstrate the leadership to which they’ve been elected. In consultation with Senate Minority Leader McConnell, we Congressional Republicans are going to stand down and await the Democratic ‘fiscal cliff’ resolution introduced by President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Reid. Lest we be accused of abdicating our responsibility, Senator McConnell and myself already have communicated to the President and Majority Leader Reid that we will be inclined to not oppose enactment of most of what they produce. The election in November, while not providing a mandate as such has historically been understood, it was a signal to give the Democrats the opportunity to continue implementing their agenda. This ‘fiscal cliff’ package will in effect be a second election on the Democrats’ economic policies and vision for America’s future, and the reaction of our citizens, of Main Street businesses and Wall Street will constitute a vote, as will the economy’s performance over the next few years. We’ll all be looking forward to seeing the Democratic plan.”
This (or some variation) would throw the responsibility for a package back to where it belongs, would preempt Democrat and media attempts to portray Republicans as obstructionists, and would force the Democrats to “own it” (both up front and the certain economic decline over the coming years). Just the stock market tumble likely to occur after such an announcement would send a telling signal, and might even cause the Democrats to scale back more of their ambitions than they’ll be inclined to do with a “deal” with Boehner, which would cause the Republicans to be joint-owners of the resulting economic debacle.
That is, if only Boehner had a brain.