It really, really surprises and bugs Republicans that President Obama has a spine, has won an election and support for his tax plan, has the upper hand, and that he is a new and improved version of Bargainer in Chief who, in his second term, has learned not to give ground before negotiations even get off the ground.
And as I said in my post Republicans are somehow shocked– SHOCKED!– at White House proposals and the president's ability to reach out to Americans:
What’s he doing running around the country communicating when he should be back where he belongs, in his D.C. bubble! Who does he think he is, the leader of the entire nation? Why, if he had any sense at all, he’d put the brakes on such discussions and devote his time to endless bickering with the Republicans whose primary goal was to obstruct his every proposal and make him a one term president.
The very idea!
This is seriously getting under John Boehner's bizarrely orange skin. Roll Call:
A day after the November elections, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said Republicans are ready to be led by President Barack Obama. Much to their dismay, they feel like they are being bullied instead.
The frustration is seeping through, as, for the first time in a while, Republicans do not seem to have an upper hand in negotiations. Instead, they are a step behind, relegated to reactive politics as Obama, emboldened by a decisive re-election and more Democrats on the way in the next Congress, takes his case to the public and presents private offers the GOP is certain to reject. [...]
Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, a Boehner ally and a key player on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee:
“It’s just shocking to me that a president who gets fewer states in this election than the previous election and a smaller percentage of the vote, acts like he got a mandate,” he said. “This is unacceptable. This is not leadership. This is not leadership in any way shape or form from the president, and I’m personally very frustrated.”
Instead of scoffing and harrumphing and whining their elephantine asses off, maybe Boehner and Co. could try coming forward with specifics that don't sound like Ryan Budget Redux and start, you know, negotiating. Turning on your heel and tantruming was so Eric Cantor ago.
As Roll Call reports, the president is out on the trail talking to crowds at campaign-style rallies, while The Boehner and his conference "were left stewing in the Capitol." That didn't seem to bother Republicans when George W. Bush used the bully pulpit to push for privatizing Social Security:
Bush embarked on a 60-day national tour, campaigning vigorously for his initiative in media events, known as the "Conversations on Social Security", in an attempt to gain support from the general public. Despite the energetic campaign, public support for the proposal declined and the House Republican leadership decided not to put Social Security reform on the priority list for the remainder of their 2005 legislative agenda.
Sucks to be them.
UPDATE: Per MSNBC and the AP just now, the GOP has a counter offer:
GOP proposes Medicare cuts, reduced Social Security inflation adjustment in fiscal cliff talks - @AP
Email alert via Politico:
POLITICO Breaking News: House Republicans have made a $2.2 trillion counter offer to the White House on the fiscal cliff negotiations that does not raise tax rates on upper income Americans but does include $800 billion in tax reform, $600 billion in health care cuts and $600 billion in other cuts in discretionary and mandatory spending.
Per Think Progress's Igor Volsky, a couple of tweets:
RT @chucktodd: ... the House GOP plan has another 1.4 T in new cuts/savings (Medicare/CPI for Soc Sec and other programs/Farm Subs).
GOP counter offer includes raising Medicare eligiblity age from 65 to 67 yo. This was part of Paul Ryan's plan and is a very bad idea.