So the President is going to adopt the debt reduction position of the Simpson-Bowles Catfood Commission. Wonderful.
It astounds me that a guy can become editor of Harvard Law Review and a Constitutional Law professor at the University of Chicago, let alone President of the United States, and, from all appearances, never once have learned anything about the strategy and tactics of negotiation. One class in Alternative Dispute Resolution would have done it.
Instead, we get to see the President tell his opponents exactly how far he's willing to go, which is much farther than he should go, and then fight off their intransigent opposition, get pulled to their side, and anger his base.
Stop me if you've heard this before. The President is going to announce a major initiative, after first giving in on a point that a significant portion of his base feels should be non-negotiable. Then he's going to propose it, and it will be met by complete rejection by the other side, who will propose some draconian ridiculousness that they will claim is the only acceptable position. Then they will bash him as a communist because he doesn't accept their position.
The President will then slowly negotiate his way to their side, using certain "moderate" Senators to float his series of cave-ins, all with the net effect of making him look like his original position is losing support in the Senate, leading to a series of stories about how he is weakening.
Then, in a last push just before a crucial deadline, he will win support of something that has the same name as what he proposed, but, because the GOP controls the House, contains things we never would support. And then the President will declare victory.
He is doing this all within two years of a major election, so that his base will be demoralized just in time to face the opposition, who will never have ceased calling him a traitor and a communist, such that his signature achievement is belittled, watered down, and ultimately politically damaging to his own party.
All for the want of a negotiation skills seminar.