Sunday, April 10, 2011

bargaining chips

Excuse me, Mister President. I'm on your calendar for ten...
Oh... Come on in. Pleased to meet you. I'm Barack Obama.
I'm, uh, Bill Daley. I've been your Chief of Staff since, oh, middle of January.
Right... The guy who replaced Rahm...
I'm sorry, Mister President, but take solace in the fact that Rahm was called on to greater things... The reason I'm here is to talk about your address to the nation on Wednesday.
I didn't say that I would definitely address the nation, I said that I might address the nation. Besides, I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to say... Come in here for a moment, Austan.

Morning Mister President. Morning Bill.
Austan, this gentleman has just been here for a few days, and he's already nagging me about giving an address on the economy. Tell Mister Daley, do I have a clue at this point what I want to say about our long term economic plans?
No, Bill, he really doesn't, but just between you and me I think that maybe we should help him focus a little bit.
You see, Mister President, debate on lifting the debt ceiling limit is coming up faster than you can imagine. We just watched Boehner on Face the Nation saying that there was now way in hell the GOP would give you a clean bill. I think they'll go for blood.
They know that defaulting on the debt would be insanity, and they're sending a clear message that they're crazy enough to do it. The market would meltdown, credit dry up, heavy job loss...
Yeah yeah, oil and commodities skyrocket, and our national reputation sullied. So what do I do to counter these maniacs?
There's really only one way I can think of, Mister President. Meet the Republicans half way.
We were actually thinking of two-thirds or seventy percent of the way. But you're the president, that's your call to make.
There's a lot of ways we can confront the deficit. Close tax loopholes and end corporate tax breaks, cuts in the military, raising taxes on the wealthiest earners...
All fine ideas, and all non-starters. You need something that can somewhat pacify the political right.
You need something that will cause suffering, the more suffering the better. I mean, keep your ideas in the speech. At least we can use them as bargaining chips.
Somehow I had always hoped that inflicting suffering would never be a part of my job.
Unfortunately at this point it would appear to be... Well, I just stopped by to help you to focus on your speech. Have a nice day.
Give me a buzz if you need anything else.

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