Boehner Blew it, McConnell Caved, and the Jig is up
Published: July 13, 2011 at 10:34 am
After Senator McConnell’s news conference yesterday in which he caved to Obama’s demands, House Republicans and their constituents have to be asking, How could this happen?—This can’t be real.
The lyrics to Barry Manilow’s hit song, “This Can’t be Real,” pretty much sums up how Republican voters must be feeling right now, given the reality that the President has successfully out-maneuvered the Republican leadership:
“This can’t be real as long as I love you
How could this be real as long as you are there?
Help me feel the nightmare is behind me.”
Sadly, the nightmare is not behind us. The President did a rope-a-dope maneuver on Boehner. Speaker Boehner is a likeable guy, but when it comes to the bare-knuckle fighting in the arena of Chicago-style politics, the Speaker is way out of his league.
The number one rule in successful negotiations is, “never walk out”, or declare a “deadlock”, unless you are prepared for the consequences.
By agreeing to enter into negotiations with President Obama in the first place, Boehner took on the role as the lead negotiator for House Republicans. It was up to the Speaker to establish written ground rules prior to entering into those negotiations.
Written ground rules prevent either party from engaging in bad faith negotiations. Violation of those rules is an act of bad faith and a reasonable cause for declaring a deadlock---thus a walkout.
President Obama used the bully pulpit to publicly hammer Republicans for not offering any concessions on tax increases, even as negotiations were ongoing.
Boehner, on the other hand, allowed the negotiations to continue in secret, effectively allowing the President to control the public debate.
When Boehner walked out, he opened the door for the President to take the high road. Without anything in writing to justify a walkout, or to refute the President’s allegations, Speaker Boehner looked like a broken man on Fox News yesterday.
It’s time to get real—Boehner blew it, McConnell caved, and the jig is up; turn out the lights, the party is over.