Friday, July 29, 2011

On War

I'm going to work through your comments eventually. Right now, however, I'd like to write a bit about war. More specifically, about the political war in the US.

Irrespective of your actual opinion about the debt ceiling discussion, you have to admit that the president is behaving very strangely.

1) He seems willing to make extraordinary concessions to the Tea Party that would most probably cost him the re-election.
2) He constantly talks to the public about it and gives poisoned praise to Mr. Boehner.
3) There are reasons to believe he sabotages any agreement. For example his sudden demand for $400 Billion more revenue just before they had an agreement.
4) His latest speech was highly harmful considering the actual negotiations. And it wasn't anything else!
5) "Don't call my bluff, Eric" - really ???

What the hell is going on here? Well, here's my personal opinion:
The president expertly and painfully anatomizes the Tea Party. And there's nothing they can do. Most probably they don't even see it coming.

Now, perhaps you think I have gone crazy, but look at what is actually happening! It is impossible to blame the president for not compromising enough. He successfully implemented the narrative that he would be willing to sacrifice all his party stands for to reach a deal!
And yet he does everything to sabotage a compromise. The speech this Monday .. what else did it do than sabotage? I mean, I agree with everything the president said, but the political effect of this is sabotage. And the president is not a newbie.

This is the guy who came out of nowhere and beat Hillary Clinton. He then was elected President in a landslide victory. He pushed a health care reform through and a financial reform. That is more than most presidents before him achieved - and he did it in the worst political climate .. ever?
He ordered the execution of Somali pirates in cold blood and succeeded. He ordered the expansion of one of the most powerful death-from-above programs in history in the AfPak border reagion. He ordered an attack on Libya completely circumventing Congress! Most prominently, he was shaking hands and smiling for months while preparing the execution of Osama Bin Laden at night. And he succeeded.

Some supporters think he should lead more. But that he did in the first two years (health care reform, financial reform and countless other reforms). What he does right now is using the momentum of his opponents to throw them flying through the air and on their backs. In fact, he is firing up their momentum. And, yes, this strike is going to be lethal.
Once he is re-elected, he will quietly complete his reforms (Congress blocked major parts of them).

Is he going to be successful this time? Well, I think his plan is working beyond his wildest dreams right now! And even though I mostly agree with the President's goals, I feel a shiver running over my back when I consider how effectively he eliminates his opposition.

On the debt ceiling: He will be the great Saviour when he finally cites the 14th amendment. But he will wait cold-blooded as ever for the perfect moment to do this.


  1. I like your point of view here (in that I think it would be great if it were so), but I'm skeptical as to whether Obama has been quite as calculating as you imply.

    Speaking as someone who has done zero research and who has absolutely no authority or expertise on these issues, I do have to say your post reads like a too-perfect-to-be-true argument where the author is relying heavily on selective use of examples and omission of details that might detract from the central thesis.

    But, as I said, that was just what I got from the tone. I do hope someone with some actual knowledge responds.


  2. I don't think Obama was intentionally sabotaging the Republican efforts. That being said, I think he is presenting them with very difficult decisions. Now that they have shown that they can't pass their *own* plans, they are surely the ones who are going to bear the brunt of the blame if this whole thing goes badly. As you said, the president can probably save America, at least temporarily, from economic collapse even if the debt ceiling is not raised.

    But I think Obama is genuinely a reasonable person who wants to make reasonable decisions. His speech was a call for reasonability trumping partisanship. That's really what he wants, a government driven by rational decision making. After Boehner's failed deal, we have to wonder whether the non-tea-party republicans won't decide to side with the democrats rather than with their own insane ranks.

    Either way I think it probably works out okay for Obama (unless the US dollar becomes worthless, their entire economy collapses, and/or a large section of typical Americans find themselves with higher interest payments than salaries). I just think that there is no point in sabotage from his side when he knows perfectly well that the tea party will sabotage everything. He just has to behave reasonably long enough to let them look like the bad guys.