Later this afternoon, President Barack Obama will meet with Democratic congressional leaders Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) along with their Republican counterparts Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) hoping to avert going over the highly publicized “fiscal cliff.”
With the White House previously noting how stagnant the talks between them and Speaker Boehner have been in recent weeks, many are pessimistic about whether these last minute talks will serve as anything more than theater cheaper than the tickets for the first Madea play.
As Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) explained to NBC News: [The meeting] “doesn’t feel like anything that’s very constructive is going to happen. It feels more like optics than anything that’s real.” And Robert Costa of the National Reviewreported that at least three of the GOP senators he’s spoken to believe we’re heading over the fiscal cliff regardless of this afternoon’s meeting.
Regardless of the results of this White House gathering the blame game has already started — with some displaying far more nerve than their recent behavior ought to allow. After his own caucus publicly dissed him by refusing to vote for the fiscal cliff package he put forward a week ago, Speaker Boehner skipped away from negotiations and tried to re-gift guilt to President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. On Wednesday, Boehner’s spokesperson was quoted saying, “We’ll see what Senate Democrats are able to produce.”
Thing is, the Senate had long produced a bill, a measure that would essentially extend all the Bush era tax cuts for those earning under $250,000 while allowing them to expire for those making over that amount. Boehner, nor did House Republicans, support that yet his caucus rebuked his “Plan B,” which would’ve extended the cuts for those earning $1,000,000 and below.
“We are here in Washington working while the members of the House of Representatives are out watching movies and watching their kids play soccer and basketball and doing all kinds of things. They should be here. I can’t imagine their consciences.”
But, but, but: It’s Christmas, sir. A time for peach cobbler and consumerism. Who has time for a conscience?
Reid went on to accuse Boehner with being more interested in maintaining his role as Speaker of the House than actually getting meaningful legislative done that would settle fears that the United States was about to turn off its ringer to ignore the global bill collectors who’ll soon come calling. Reid also claimed that Boehner was running the Senate like a dictator.
Well, that’s not true because Hugo Chavez would never allow his minions to embarrass him the way House Republicans have made a fool of Speaker Boehner. Nonetheless, the majority of the blame belongs to him.
True enough, it might not be so bad if we went over this gloom and doom media narrative called “going over the fiscal cliff.” The upcoming Congress would include far more liberal members of the Senate and less wacky Tea Party obstructionists in the House — both of which would make for an accord more favorable to President Obama’s agenda.
You know, the one he was reelected on.
Nevertheless, the country could’ve avoided all of the dramatics had Boehner stopped being so focused on appeasing Tea Party members who don’t want to vote to raise taxes and bother to try to work on a plan that could’ve garnered enough support from Democrats and Republicans alike to pass.
Instead, we’re going to have to look at Mitch McConnell’s frown on the White House lawn later and be subjected to at least another week or so of back-and-forth over the inevitable: Higher taxes for the Boardwalk and Park Place wing of American tax brackets.