Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (December 30, 2012)

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A Happy New Year a tous! (Damn, how very un-American of me: Freedom Fries!!)

Today on Meet the Press, President Obama is here to press his case against the Republicans for stalling on negotiations to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff”.

(Hmmm, David Gregory is much taller than Pres. Barack Obama. And Pres. Obama is over 6 ft, tall.)

His case: the average person will lose $2000 of income if taxes go up for the average American; taxes that were supposed to go up in the first place under the Bush tax cuts of the early aughts.

His offer to keep current tax rates for 98% of Americans, for 97% of small business, allowing taxes to go up for the richest 2% to the Clinton era rates.

Gregory: What will be the impact on the market if the government goes over the fiscal cliff?

Obama: The economy for 2013 was projected to do well. If, however, we fail to reach a mutually advantageous outcome before Jan 1st, this coming Tuesday, then it’s not implausible that consumer confidence and market confidence in the broader scope of the economy and that’ll be bad for the economy at large.

His argument that raising taxes on 2% should be enough to avert sequestration. That, by itself, should have been sufficient to meet the demands of both sides.

David Gregory: If Pres. Obama signed up for the fiscal cliff over 17 months ago, how can he say that he’s not at fault for not reaching a balanced outcome?

Pres. Obama’s response is that his track record suggests that he’s made deals that have made his base angry and that he’s won re-election partly on the promise that he’d raise taxes on the wealthy. Therefore, he’s credible as the leader who’s willing to work to solve problems. So, if Republicans are not willing to say yes to a sensible deal, then he has a responsibility to the American people and he’ll take his argument out to them to decide the case.

Gregory: What is it about him that makes it difficult for Republicans to say yes to him?

Pres. Obama is saying that what he’s laid down right now control the deficit for the next decade and he’s made changes to his own proposals including offering up a changed Chain CPI. But what he will not do is only try to reduce the deficit by rolling over the poor, students and senior citizens. Cutting spending is part of the solution ; but it is only part of the solution. Only cutting spending is not the way to pursue a deficit and debt reduction strategy,

On the question of his policy priorities for his next term, Pres. Obama has called for immigration reform, moves to help create stronger economic growth and moves on green energy.

Okay, that’s a huge number of policy moves. What about gun legislation after the Newtown massacre?

He’s supported banning assault weapons and high capacity clips. Can he move something reasonable through Congress. To the question that the NRA is arguing all that won’t work, the president is saying that we’ll have to try everything. And certainly, just saying XYZ is not sufficient to knock down sensible measures.

Pres. Obama just said that if the NRA stands against any decent moves to control assault weapons, then he’ll take his argument to the American people and, certainly, public opinion will stand with him. He just said the Newtown  massacre was the worst day of his presidency. (I don’t know what to think of that.)

Do we know who was behind the Benghazi attacks?

Pres. Obama’s answer is that the State Dept. will respond to and accept and implementation every recommendation offered to it. There was some sloppiness in attending to affairs in Libya, none of it intentional but some people have been held accountable for their failings.

On Susan Rice and Benghazi: Pres. Obama thinks Amb. Susan Rice did an excellent job at her post and she had very little to do with policy in Benghazi and that it’s not clear why she was opposed in the particular ways she was opposed. But keep in mind that U.S. intelligence has good leads on who was responsible for the attack in Benghazi.

Is there anything in Chuck Hagel’s record disqualifying for an appointment head up the Pentagon? Pres. Obama said no, there’s nothing disqualifying about his record.

To the question of whether, as he approaches his second term, what frustrates him, President Obama is saying that it frustrates him people still think that everyone in Washington is averse to negotiation and working together. His claim: that the argument simply isn’t true. That warts and all, the Democratic Party and the president has tried to put country first. That he’s not some ideologue, he wants to do things that work and that he wants to leave things better than he found them.

This entire riff is a knockdown argument against the Republican Party. This is a strong argument for the way the GOP is working and his argument comes pretty close to saying that the Republicans have not put country first.

If there is a settlement by Jan 1st, then we’ll do well by the American people. If the Republicans block sensible moves then the Democrats will come back to a new term on Jan 4th and the first thing on the table will be to lower tax rates on middle class Americans.

Chuck Todd is part of the roundtable. He’s saying the president’s interview suggests that even he thinks the January 1st deadline is a soft deadline.

Tom Brokaw is saying that maybe the president needs to move up a bit with his offer. That $250k level does not make an American rich. Also, he needs to move on traditional entitlements, etc, etc, etc. (Why’s Tom Brokaw moving to the right??! Is it because he’s old and rich?)

Doris Kearns Goodwin is saying that this interview is evidence that Pres. Obama has moved on from the inside game to a more conversational account. This is a move he’s come to recently and it’s probably more helpful to his case.

Jon Meacham is saying that one of the problems the president has is that he’s terrible at retail politics. He’s not FDR; he’s no Reagan. If he were he’d not have had such a huge problem getting his message across.

Chuck Todd is saying that whatever the case about retail politics the president is still dealing with a Congress that’s quite possibly the worst in American history with something like 218 bills passed.

Both Chuck Todd and David Brooks said that the Republicans made a huge mistake to let go of an offer that would have given them a lot of what they wanted; that probably was the best deal they’d get. But, in another way, the hard-right wing GOP is responding to its own incentive structure.

Tom Brokaw is saying that in terms of gun control, we need a holistic approach to solving that one problem. Doris Kearns Goodwin is saying that the president needs to go out there and bring forth the affect necessary to move the American people to the point where they accept that certain kinds of guns aren’t necessary to maintain their 2nd Amendment rights.

Jon Meacham is saying that it may be more the case that cultural leaders who are hunters need to come out and say that if you’re a quail hunter, you do not need an AK 47 nor an AR 15.

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~ by Faheem Haider on December 30, 2012.

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