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CLASS WARFARE: Obama turns fire on Republicans – The Washington Post

September 19, 2011

Speaking from the White Hosue President Obama calls for $1.5 trillion in new revenue as part of a plan to find more than $3 trillion in budget savings over a decade.

Obama turns fire on Republicans

By Dan Balz, Monday, September 19, 10:28 AM

The deficit-reduction speech President Obama delivered from the Rose Garden on Monday underscores the sharp strategic pivot he and his administration have made in the wake of the debt ceiling negotiations.

Call it lessons learned the hard way, or the necessary readjustment by a politician, but the Obama who spoke on Monday was in a far different place politically and stylistically from the president who tried to pull off a grand bargain with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in July and August.

Obama is a politician whose first instincts always have been to try to find ways to entice, cajole, reason with or otherwise produce cross-party consensus. On Monday, he continued a transition toward greater partisanship that began with his speech to a joint session of Congress two weeks ago.

Rarely has this president been as blunt in his challenges to the other party as he was on Monday. Rarely has he been so willing to draw lines in the sand. Rarely has he waved the threat of a veto with such emphasis.

Obama has gone from a president who talked openly about his willingness to rile his own party by making concessions on entitlements to get a deal with the Republicans to a politician determined to reconnect with his base as the two parties head into a new round of negotiations and an election campaign in which the stakes could not be higher.

Monday’s speech was another sign that many of the working assumptions Obama and his advisers took into the debt ceiling talks have been replaced — some because of practical necessity, but more fundamentally because of political necessities. Whatever hope the president had of coming out of the debt ceiling debate enhanced as the adult in the room, no matter what the final outcome, crashed with the evidence that he and the Republicans both suffered political damage.

With his own political standing weakened and his base in near-revolt, the president may have had no choice other than to reappraise both his economic and his political strategy. Attempting to stay above the fray and appealing for at least a temporary cessation in the partisan wars in Washington was no longer an option.

Gone is any illusion that he and Boehner can really make a deal along the lines discussed during the summer — a deal that would take a serious bite out of entitlements, particularly Medicare, and include some new taxes. Gone too is his willingness to offer anything that would make his base even more estranged that it already is. Instead, Obama is under pressure to produce a program that can produce jobs and to reassert his standing as the leader of Democrats.

via Obama turns fire on Republicans – The Washington Post.


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