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Tag-teaming Obama
The Hill ^ | 03/04/13 | John Feehery

Posted on 03/05/2013 1:20:30 PM PST by cotton1706

Don’t tell the Tea Party, but the tag team of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are currently mopping the floor with Barack Obama.

The president convincingly won a second term in November, but since that time, the congressional Republican leadership has outfoxed, outmaneuvered and plain out-strategized him on just about every issue.

On taxes, McConnell (R-Ky.) just flat-out beat Joe Biden. He preserved 98 percent of the Bush tax cuts in perpetuity, which from a policy perspective is huge. He also made sure that the payroll tax holiday came to a conclusion, thereby making sure that every American would feel the tax increase that President Obama has long been fighting for.

By agreeing on a smaller tax increase, McConnell also inoculated Republicans from Obama’s demands for higher taxes later on. Hey, Mr. President, we just raised taxes, and you want to raise taxes again? That dog simply doesn’t hunt with most voters, and Obama has taken to the less politically explosive position of closing tax loopholes. Boring.

On spending, the Republicans haven’t gotten everything they wanted. But they did get the rebranding opportunity that they so desperately needed. They are once again champions of spending cuts, and the American people now believe them.

And thanks to Boehner’s (R-Ohio) nimble reshuffling, they were able to get rebranded as spending cutters without having to resort to defaulting on the debt or closing down the government.

For those who have forgotten, Boehner agreed to a short-term debt increase — setting up the crisis to hit after the sequester went into effect and before the continuing resolution expired at the end of March.

The president took the bait by warning darkly about the apocalypse that would surely result if the government cut the growth of government spending by 5 percent. My good friend Ray LaHood, the U.S. Transportation secretary, complained about long airport lines related to the already unpopular TSA, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned that she would have to let illegal immigrants out of jail, and Attorney General Eric Holder assured voters that America would be less safe if government spending growth were curtailed.

And for their efforts, Team Obama was roundly mocked. “Saturday Night Live” did a hilarious skit over the weekend that had the president trot out the Village People to show how deep the cuts would hurt. When they are laughing at you, Mr. President, you aren’t winning.

On immigration reform, the president stepped on the efforts of the Senate to come up with a comprehensive bill by leaking out his own plans just as the immigration gang was nearing an agreement. His administration looked foolish, and he got the blame for the delay.

Even on guns, Republicans have outmaneuvered the president by insisting on a Senate-first strategy. The White House, not knowing how to legislate, immediately decided to launch a new outside-the-Beltway campaign presumably aimed at GOP members, when just about everybody knows that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was the real immovable force against more gun control. How do you campaign against your own majority leader? Good question.

As a result, the White House has gotten nowhere on its two biggest non-fiscal legislative agenda items, immigration and gun control. On the fiscal issues, the Republicans have succeeded in getting 98 percent of the Bush tax cuts made permanent. On spending, they have been successful in rolling back spending to 2009 levels.

And what has the president achieved in these first two months of the new year?

Outside of putting new Cabinet secretaries in place — and not without some controversy — he hasn’t accomplished much.

The Tea Party might not know it, but the congressional Republican leadership is doing an amazing job of outmaneuvering this president on issue after issue. They deserve a pat on the back.

Feehery is president of Quinn Gillespie Communications and spent 15 years working in the House Republican leadership. He is a contributor to The Hill’s Pundits Blog and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com.


TOPICS: Government; Politics
KEYWORDS:
While some of this may be true, I'm not forgetting that McConnell intentionally undermined House Cut, Cap and Balance momentum with his silly automatic debt-ceiling increase that led to the sequester/super-committee deal in the first place. And Boehner went along with it, abandoning regular legislative order by directly negotiating with the president and then jamming legislation down the House's throat.

Boehner still appointed a bunch of moderates to committee chairs, did not even bother trying to defund Obamacare and, if he could, would have democrats help the moderates pass liberal legislation in the House. And McConnell has undermined conservatives at every turn. Their insticts are not conservative and they need to be watched and they do not deserve a pat on the back.

That being said, I do believe putting off the debt ceiling till May was a good strategy, and passing a coninuing resolution this week taking us to 9/30 is also a good strategy (it should be at the lower sequester levels). It closes out 2013 and they should at the same time, demand a budget from the senate for FY 2014 so this game isn't continued.

1 posted on 03/05/2013 1:20:36 PM PST by cotton1706
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To: cotton1706

2014 will tell the tale. We do know the Baraqqis have a huge effort underway to re-take the House.

Converting the (successful) Obama campaign apparatus to a permanent progressive onslaught.


2 posted on 03/05/2013 1:25:31 PM PST by nascarnation (Baraq's economic policy: trickle up poverty)
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To: nascarnation

I have a sneaking suspicion that Newt may be behind the new and successful strategies, such as putting off the debt ceiling, not caving on sequestration and the continuing resolution till September.


3 posted on 03/05/2013 1:28:44 PM PST by cotton1706
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To: cotton1706

I doubt that.

Any time he is on TV he is hollering ‘shutdown’!

After all, his ‘shutdown’ was such a roaring success. [/s]


4 posted on 03/05/2013 1:58:25 PM PST by TomGuy
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To: cotton1706
But they did get the rebranding opportunity that they so desperately needed.

Funny stuff indeed!

5 posted on 03/05/2013 2:18:49 PM PST by 03A3 (The reset is gonna be epic.)
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To: cotton1706

Boehner’s refusal to acknowledge The Tea Party’s existence, in the face of the 2010 political achievements wrought by them, has placed Mr. Boehner on my “anatomy-less/right by ascension/I’m owed it” s(p)it list.


6 posted on 03/05/2013 3:53:08 PM PST by Terry L Smith
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To: Terry L Smith

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell

now there is a shirt full of boobs if I have ever saw one. Those two are a bunch of idiots who need to retire.


7 posted on 03/05/2013 4:38:21 PM PST by Cyclone59 (Obama is like Ron Burgundy - he will read ANYTHING that is on the teleprompter)
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To: nascarnation
2014 will tell the tale. We do know the Baraqqis have a huge effort underway to re-take the House.

That's a tall order. Obama's approval rating in the latest Gallup poll is down to 46 %.

The Politics of Sequestration: More Nuanced Than You Think

But the bottom line is that no president with a sub-50 approval rating has ever avoided losing at least 15 seats in the House in a midterm election; indeed you have to get to the high 50s before you start to see single (digit?) seat losses occur with regularity...

8 posted on 03/05/2013 5:17:01 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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