Politicos like U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and pundits like the Washington Post's Ezra Klein are both weighing in the debt-ceiling and what President Obama's recent message means for both political parties.
And with negotiations ending in deadlock each day, what Obama said at a press conference Monday is a loud and clear
message to the GOP establishment:
1) There will be a long-term deal by August.
2) His clear efforts will make him the “good guy” while the GOP’s stubbornness means they are the “bad guy.”
And both those sentiments touch heavily on the 2012 election.
When asked if the administration has a contingency plan in case no deal is reached, Obama firmly declared: “We will get this done by August 2nd" and that negotiations will resume each day until a deal is reached. While the message “The president wants a deal and he wants a deal now” is clearer than water, Obama also clarified that he won't just accept any deal; vowing that any temporary extensions of three months or less will be vetoed. Referencing the election, he said "It's not going to get easier. It's gonna to get harder. So we might as well do it now. Pull off the Band-Aid. Eat our peas."
As for the “good guy-bad guy” imagery, Ezra Klein notes Obama’s careful words during the press conference:
He's ‘bending over backwards’ to get a deal, he’s ‘willing to take heat from his own party’ for addressing entitlements, he likes and respects Speaker John Boehner and, by implication, Boehner likes and respects him, but the internal politics of the GOP are making a compromise impossible...Republican intransigence is great for the Obama brand.
Kirk said in an interview with WTTW's Carol Marin last night that "there is something to be lost by both sides" in any debt-ceiling deal. See his comments here:
Meanwhile, the folks at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee are voicing their discontent with the President's debt-ceiling press conference. They say Obama's comments misrepresented the views of progressive Democrats, who think the solution to the nation's debt crisis lies in taxing the rich. Here's an excerpt from an email they sent to their mailing list quoting Obama's comments and explaining why they think he is wrong:
"The vast majority of Democrats on Capitol Hill would prefer not to have to do anything on entitlements; would prefer, frankly, not to have to do anything on some of these debt and deficit problems."
Significance: The House Progressive Caucus proposed balancing the budget by taxing the rich, making companies like GE pay taxes, ending the wars, and other popular, progressive proposals. By his own admission, Obama didn't even try for these -- and then he attacks progressive Democrats with false, right-wing talking points.
The group is calling on Obama to oppose cuts to Medicaid and Social Security as the solution to the debt crisis, even going so far as to start a pledge petition directed towards the President warning him that all of the progressives who sign on will refuse to vote for him or donate to his campaign if he fails to firmly oppose and prevent such cuts.