The Worst Negotiators
I cannot decide who the worst negotiators are, Republican leaders or House conservatives.John Boehner’s plan couldn’t get the votes last night so Boehner had to agree to add language conditioning a vote on a balanced budget amendment — an amendment House Republicans said could not pass so there was no reason to pursue Cut, Cap, and Balance. The vote will now be today.The vote now is all about fear and messaging — fear of blame and a very weak message. In fact, the House will send a weaker message than Cut, Cap, and Balance. It’ll also get less votes in either House than Cut, Cap, and Balance.Last night on Sean Hannity’s show, Senator Rand Paul said around a dozen Republican Senators will vote against Boehner’s plan. And they must. Because if they do not, I have a sneaking suspicion that Harry Reid will strip out the balanced budget amendment language and the second vote on the debt ceiling, send it back to the House, and get it passed with a hundred Democrats.House Conservatives who don’t like the plan, but are willing to trade their vote for a balanced budget amendment are about to be force fed the plan they don’t like by Harry Reid and all with their help.Frankly, the House Republicans have turned this vote into a cult of personality vote. It is not about saving the Republic, fighting Obama, or cutting the debt. And you remember that when they vote for it.John Boehner has convinced House Republicans that they are both getting a good deal and that if it fails, Boehner himself is in jeopardy. So House Republicans will vote for the plan, see the Senate either kill it or butcher it, and then be stuck. It’s all about John Boehner now — nothing else.To console themselves, Boehner is going to give House conservatives their balanced budget amendment language and then have them do the very thing they promised they’d fight — fund Obamacare.Yes, you see that’s the dirty little secret glossed over by everyone. John Boehner’s plan contemplates Obamacare’s continuation. And House Republicans will sell their souls today for a balanced budget amendment that the Senate will strip from the plan in the best case scenario.I think the House Republicans are the worst negotiators, but doggoneit — imagine if John Boehner had been half as aggressive with the Democrats as he has been these past 24 hours with House conservatives.Oh, and I still don’t think anyone can answer this question: if the House GOP only controls one half of one branch of the federal government and has no power, why the hell do they keep throwing plans against the wall hoping something will stick? Do they have Stockholm Syndrome?House conservatives should vote no. A balanced budget amendment is worth fighting for. A balanced budget amendment is worth holding the line for. But it is not worth being fooled into voting for a plan by it including a BBA on a subsequent debt ceiling vote knowing with 100% certainty that not only will Harry Reid strip it out in the Senate, but that your own leadership will sell you out on when it comes back to you. Your symbolic vote — and it is a symbolic vote — will be used to play you as a fool.Hold the freaking line. The negotiating hand improves once you move past fear of the unknown.Oh, and while you are at it, get rid of the deficit commission that you know good and well will raise taxes. It is only as strong as its weakest link.