Reports are pouring out of Washington about the Fiscal Cliff negotiations. A lot of people observing the negotiations are outraged by what is going on. Instead of being outraged, and there is plenty of time for outrage; we should take a look at what is going on.
If you analyze the negotiations, it tells you a lot about what is going on in Washington and what may happen.
What is going on inside these negotiations?
First the Obama Team offered to raise taxes $1.6 trillion. Then he wants no spending increases. And the top layer of the cake? He wants the authority to borrow money without congressional authority. He wants to basically abolish the debt ceiling.
Obama’s initial offer to the Republicans was absolutely stunning. He put an offer that not only is unacceptable to the Republicans; it shows contempt for the Republicans.
Roger Fisher and William Ury wrote a book called, “Getting to yes.” It is the definitive book on negotiating. Fisher and Ury talk about something called the “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” (BATANA). Obama believes that he has an incredible BATANA.
The Republicans have already painted themselves into a corner. When they agreed to the sequestration deal back in 2011, the Republicans gave away their strongest negotiating points. The cuts the GOP agreed to back in 2011 would be the most painful for the GOP. This was John Boehner’s brilliant idea that would “force” negotiations to reach an equitable settlement.
That’s a great theory, in practice. However, it also assumes that both parties are entering into the negotiations in good faith. The idea behind negotiations is that both sides want to reach a fair agreement.
Unfortunately for the Republicans and for America, the Obama Regime has no interest in fair agreement. They do not look at negotiations as a forum for compromise so that the best ideas can prevail. They look at negotiations as another battleground just like elections. They do not want a fair agreement. They want to win.
Obama approaches these negotiations knowing a couple of things. First, his team has done such a good job of messaging on the fiscal cliff; most polls show the public will blame the Republicans for the fiscal cliff.
Obama knows the drive by media will cover him. They will dutifully report that anything other than a complete capitulation will be portrayed as Republicans trying to protect millionaires and trying to screw the middle class.
The other thing he knows is he has an opponent who has no stomach for the fight. John Boehner will not stand and fight. When you have an opponent who will not fight, why even try to be reasonable.
Back in an earlier part of my life, I worked as an Assistant District Attorney. Every prosecutor in any jurisdiction can tell you which defense lawyer will try cases and which one will not.
98% of all cases in state criminal courts are resolved by a negotiated settlement. I hardly ever negotiated with defense lawyers who I knew would not take their cases to trial. I would just tell them what the offer was and wait for them to fold.
Obama believes he is in the driver’s seat. He believes Boehner will fold and give him everything he wants. If Boehner folds and gives Obama everything he wants, not only does Obama continue to destroy America, he destroys the Republican Party at the same time.
Boehner has a BATANA. It is to simply walk away from the negotiations. Boehner should realize that even if the fiscal cliff turns into a disaster now, by the time the 2014 elections come along, the fiscal cliff will be long forgotten. What will not be forgotten is if Boehner surrenders to Obama.
If he does, it will mean the end of the Republican Party as a national party.