This piece written by Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal describes the game plan for Team Obama in this re-election campaign season:
If Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling's presentation at the summit was indicative of White House strategy, then we're in trouble. Because that strategy comes down to windy and manipulative statements about how "we're all in this together" but GOP proposals "will lead to millions of children . . . losing their coverage." He added: "We are not criticizing their plan, we are explaining it."
It is a long time since I've seen such transparent demagoguery, such determined dodging. It's obvious the White House political plan for 2012 is this: The Democrats will call for fiscal discipline and offer no specifics or good-faith starting points. They will leave the Republicans to be specific, and then let them be hanged with their candor. Democrats will speak not of what they'll do but only of what they would never do, such as throw grandma out in the snow. In honeyed tones, Mr. Sperling said both parties should "hold hands and jump together," like Butch and Sundance. But it was clear Sundance was going to stop at the edge of the cliff and hope Butch gets broken on the rocks.
She was writing about the Mediscare campaign against the GOP plan - the Ryan plan - that the Democrats thinks will serve them well in 2012. Team Obama is good at talking the talk of working together and acknowledging economic problems, they just don't actually want to do anything about them.
Wednesday, the President invited the House Republicans to the White House for a "listening session" with them about the economic recovery that is not happening in our country and the prospect of handling the debt ceiling vote. A symbolic vote on raising the debt ceiling was held in the House on Tuesday afternoon and failed to pass. The vote was 318 - 97, so it is evident there is a group of Democrats not comfortable with simply raising the debt ceiling without agreement on budget cuts.
The vote on the debt ceiling was symbolic, to be sure, but it was important. It was a "clean bill" - one without amendments - and that is what the Democrats, including President Obama, were calling for. Then, as the GOP stood together and announced there would be no passing of an increase to the debt ceiling if substantial cuts were not agreed upon, the Democrats decided to do what they always do - they called it a stunt. In fact, it gives each member a chance to put on the record what each of their positions are on the matter. It is a tactic used by both parties - the Democrats used it most recently for the Obamacare votes.
It's called gotcha politics.
After the GOP House members exited the meeting with the President, Speaker Boehner generously described the meeting as "productive". He said he repeated a message to the President that he delivered before - "This is the moment. This is the window of opportunity". He wants the President to understand that the GOP House members are serious on finding solutions to runaway national debt that is unsustainable.
Brit Hume said on Fox News that the Democrats are behaving "remarkably cynical" on the issue of raising the debt ceiling. A long time political reporter, Hume has seen it all, so this description is noteworthy. He reminded the viewer that the Democrats have not passed a budget in two years and that is a legal requirement. He asked the question that if it was the GOP who were neglecting their sworn duty, would the media be so willing to let the matter go without question?
Other members exiting the meeting expressed caution about President Obama's willingness to do what needs to be done. Obama is said to have parroted the standard response that "investments" must be made in the economy. That word, investment, is code for spending. He punted to say that Vice President Biden would re-start talks with the two parties on June 9.