Monday, February 9, 2009

Teaching Mr. Obama How to Haggle

So Mr. Obama was reduced to bargaining for the votes of those centrists. And the centrists, predictably, extracted a pound of flesh — not, as far as anyone can tell, based on any coherent economic argument, but simply to demonstrate their centrist mojo. They probably would have demanded that $100 billion or so be cut from anything Mr. Obama proposed; by coming in with such a low initial bid, the president guaranteed that the final deal would be much too small.


Mr. President, I call your attention to this Monty Python bit:

Your inability to haggle correctly has been noticed by others also:


It’s one thing to unveil a compromise as a result of a bipartisan negotiation, and another thing to unveil an opening bid that you say you hope conservatives can get on board with.


So what have you to say for yourself?

They were pleasantly surprised and complimentary about the tax cut that were presented in that framework. Those tax cuts are still in there. I mean, I suppose what I could have done is started off with no tax cuts, knowing that I was going to want some and then let them take credit for all of them. And maybe that's the lesson I learned.
It's a little hard for me to take criticism from folks about this recovery package after they presided over a doubling of the national debt. I'm not sure they have a lot of credibility when it comes to fiscal responsibility.