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Monday, February 8, 2010

Negotiations Without Preconditions for Iran, But Not Republicans

Barack Obama was steadfast during the campaign and after his election in his willingness to enter into negotiations with Iran without preconditions.

But Obama is not willing to enter into health care negotiations with Republicans without preconditions.

In inviting Republicans to the negotiating table for the first time later this month, Obama has imposed the precondition that the negotiations start with the Democratic versions of health care legislation:

White House aides quickly rejected the idea that Obama wants to start over after nearly a year of contentious legislative haggling among members of his party.

Officials said the president will come to the health-care summit armed with a merged version of the two bills that Democrats strong-armed through the two chambers with almost no GOP backing.

"This is not starting over," one White House official said, who requested anonymity in order to discuss administration strategy. "Don't make any mistake about that. We are coming with our plan. They can bring their plan."

The official added: "What the president will not do is let this moment slip away. He hopes to have Republican support in doing so -- but he is going to move forward on health reform."

Obama's plan seems to be tweaks, at most, to otherwise unpopular and disastrous legislation, so that Republicans can share the blame in voters' eyes.

Put lipstick on Democrats' legislative pig. That is an easy offer to refuse.

Negotiations without preconditions. That would be the place to start.

Related Posts:
Taxing Your Mere Existence, Part 2
Negotiations Preconditioned On Mullah Rule
Some Honesty on the Health Care Deception

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  1. The Republicans need to reject this meeting. If there is to be a precondition of starting with the bill(s) that the people have clearly rejected, then there can be no meeting.

    The Republican leadership needs to state clearly that they wish to do what the American people want - to start with a clean slate. They are open to meeting, and working toward a common goal, if and ONLY IF the President shows he is listening to the public's clear message.

    I won't hold my breath, though. Seems that Boehner, McConnell, etc. are afraid of this "party of No" label (NO is the right thing to say to bad policies!). So much so that they will jeopardize what progress has been made thus far in correcting this nightmare in DC and accept these ludicrous preconditions.

    Will the Republican leaders get it? Time will tell.

  2. Please, please let the GOP not go the way of John McCain and try to make a bad idea worse by passing it with some cuts. The entire thing is bad!

  3. I can see Obama's rationale.

    1. Bill Clinton saved his Presidency by winning, with the connivance of the media, an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with the new Republican Congress.

    2. Together with George Bush, Washington Republicans moved this center-right nation to sweep a leftist government into power. Despite their blowout losses of 2006 and 2008, they remain in place. Why not get them involved?

    3. If Republican voters are sold out, yet again, by the national party, a grassroots revolt might create a divided Right in November and 2012.

  4. Isn't demanding to "start over" a precondition?

  5. Any Republican who shows up deserves to lose his seat.

  6. Yes well, as Obama notes, the Republicans already answered his open-hand offer with a closed fist. They opposed HIM. In contrast, The Islamic Republic of Iran is only mass-murdering its domestic political opposition, so the verdict is still out there. Iran might still play nice, so it only makes sense that Obama would treat them more generously.

  7. I don't know that I'd call the Obama position "preconditions." I wouldn't expect them to show up with nothing but pencils and legal pads any more than I'd expect the Republicans to do the same. The issue isn't what they show up with, it's how willing are they to negotiate to gain consensus.

    I suspect the Obama goal is to set up a confrontation with the "Party of No" and hope they can spin it to generate some momentum for their "plan".

    In short, yes, I expect the Obami to act in bad faith on this.

  8. How do you find a consensus without determining the common starting ground?

    A smart politician would *start* with what he knew he could get the other side to go along with and then add some posturing so it looked like he got more of his own way than he did.... but Obama didn't think he needed the other side at all.

    Health care reform is in serious underpants gnome territory. Reform is just going to work because it's reform. The bigger the better. We're paying several hundred monkeys to type gibberish on keyboards and expect to get 2K pages of something that miraculously solves all health care inequities.

    We certainly couldn't expect anyone to show up expecting to start fresh.

  9. Well, the answer is rather obvious: The Republican National Committee should immediately set up centrifuges and start enriching uranium. Then Obama & Co. would be open to negotiations without preconditions.......

  10. Maybe the Republicans should respond with their own 'precondtion' -- they'll meet on these terms on the condition that they get any one item they want included without modification, say, tort reform.

    Then listen to the howling.

  11. Didn't GWB try with his reform to Social Security plan by having the Dems in the House and Senate join him in discussions. And didn't he get told that his plan was DOA, and they would not talk about this if privation was on the table?
    Not the party of NO, but the party of HELL NO.

  12. One thing I'll give Obama: He's not a quitter on things he cares about. If only we could get him to care about making America stronger instead of weaker ...

  13. It's kind of like starting a deal with:

    "Okay, you'll pay me ten billion dollars, and I'll give you this used chewing gum and baling wire. No? How about nine billion dollars?

    Can't you see I'm working with you here? Eight billion dollars? I'm giving away the farm! Geez, who are you, Doctor No?"

  14. I personally like,
    "We're not the party of 'No.' We're the party of, 'No, that's stupid.'"

  15. Were I a Republican Senator, I would start off with the 10th Amendment and argue that we need to avoid a Progressive approach.
    Oh, and by the way, the rest of the Federal entitlements are AFU as well, so why don't we do something grown up about the whole un-Constitutional lot?

  16. LOL, luagha, very good! Heh. Hope the Rep leaders will get the clue.

  17. Quick somebody nail McCain's tie to the desk so he can't go. That will take care of two since Graham is glued to his butt.

    This can only end badly.

  18. How about this for the Republican chant: "We're not the party of 'No', We're the party of "No, we're stupid." When will you guys begin to understand that Republicans are the MINORITY PARTY in our current government?