“When he crafted a stimulus spending program to bolster the economy shortly after taking office,” The Times continues, “Mr. Obama devoted roughly a third of the money to tax cuts that he assumed Republicans would like. They did not.” “If you already have a third of the package as tax cuts,” Obama is quoted in the story, “Then the Republicans, who traditionally are more comfortable with tax cuts, may just pocket that and attack the other components of the program.”
Which would be a nice story to bolster the president’s case if it were true. Except it is not. As Bob Woodward recounts in his book “The Price of Politics,” just three days after his inauguration then-Minority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., came to the White House with a list of five specific tax cuts that Republicans were prepared to support as part of a stimulus package. Obama rejected all five.
“I can go it alone,” Obama told Cantor at the time.”Look at the polls. The polls are pretty good for me right now. Elections have consequences. And Eric, I won.” Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was even more frank: “We have the votes. F–k ‘em.”
There is nothing new about Obama’s negotiating tactics. They are the exact same today as they were when he was first elected. He expects to get everything he wants and is not willing to make any concessions to Republicans. It is not difficult to tell where this style of leadership will take us.