Ed Henry: The President Has Got To Get His Base Excited, But Pissing Off Liberal Democrats 'Is Not A Bad Thing'

I'm with Digby... watching this stuff just makes me want to go have a tall drink as well. Dana Bash, Ed Henry, John King and Gloria Borger were discussing how the policy debate was going on raising the debt ceiling and on the 2012 budget, and the
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I'm with Digby... watching this stuff just makes me want to go have a tall drink as well. Dana Bash, Ed Henry, John King and Gloria Borger were discussing how the policy debate was going on raising the debt ceiling and on the 2012 budget, and the Republicans refusal to raise taxes. Ed Henry goes from saying that the President needs to get his base excited if he hopes to be reelected in 2012 and in the next breath, talks about how having liberal Democrats mad at him "is not a bad thing."

I think our beltway Villagers love to push this stuff just to aggravate the hell out of people at the left wing blogs and anyone that writes at or reads them. In what world would Ed Henry or anyone else in our corporate media be talking about how it's a good thing for a Republican to piss off their conservative base and conservative Congressional members and that it would somehow help their chances for reelection?

Whoever it is at the White House that talked to Ed Henry has their head on backwards because liberal Congressional Democrats are trying to keep the President from giving in too much to Republicans and allowing them to destroy our fragile economy, which is obviously the Republican's plan. They'd like nothing more than to see us in another recession because they think it helps their chances for reelection, because they can then blame the bad economy on the Democrats.

And if anyone doesn't think they're crass enough to do it, just look at how they attacked Democrats the last election for the health care bill as an assault on Medicare. Who wants to let a few facts get in the way when you can do some fearmongering instead?

I don't know what the President is going to say tomorrow, but if he concedes too much to Republicans, I think he's going to help them get their wish with tanking the economy again. The center of our political debate in this country has moved so far to the right, it's ridiculous. It would really be nice to see some push back in the other direction and the hostage taking by Republicans called out for what it is so the blame can lay at their feet if their demands harm the economy, which they will.

And as Digby noted in her post, Chambliss has not agreed to tax increases:

Chambliss has not actually signed on to "modest tax increases" he's signed on to "raising revenue" which is not the same thing in this debate and relies on magical thinking about loopholes --- and tax cuts!

She's got more on that here -- Raising revenue without raising taxes. We need to be beating back at these Republican memes. We don't have a spending problem. We've got a revenue problem. And lowering taxes on the rich does nothing to reduce our deficit; it makes it worse.

Transcript below the fold.

BASH: I was just going to add to that. You know, what's so interesting is when you talk about the big picture about deficit reduction, Paul Ryan's plan definitely had some things the Democrats didn't like with regard to entitlements, but the biggest thing that they didn't like was the fact that he kept taxes low and doesn't raise them to help get rid of the deficit. And now you have Republicans saying the last thing we want in the world that we'll sign on to is a tax increase.

There's so many divides on this whole idea of reducing the deficit. But tax cuts is probably one of the biggest right now.

KING: And you do have some Republicans, Saxby Chambliss for one, Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, another who come to mind, who say, I don't want tax increases, I don't like tax increases. But if that's what I have to pay, if I have to take some modest tax increases as long as I get other things, I get spending cuts, I get changes to Medicare, maybe changes to Social Security.

So, the question, Ed Henry, is -- does the president have any realistic -- do any of us have any realistic belief that they will cut a big deal now? Or are we likely to have a big debate and carry this one into the 2012 presidential cycle?

HENRY: It sounds more like a big debate that carries on. Now, obviously, there are some pending problems here. There's the, you know, debt ceiling and lifting that by May 16th. And as part of lifting that, Speaker Boehner obviously saying, look, you've got to put some sort of deficit reduction on the table. So, something some event like that may force the president's hand, may force both parties frankly to do something.

But I think it's much more likely to wind up being a 2012 issue. And here's one reason why: the day after the big speech on Wednesday, where's the president going? He's going to Chicago to officially sort of launch the fundraising for 2012. And so, even if they say here it's not about politics, within 24 hours, he's out on the campaign trail.

BORGER: But here's something that came out of those negotiations, John, that you were talking about in the government -- to avoid the government shutdown. I was talking to a senior White House adviser said to me, asked him what he learned about John Boehner. And he said, "What I learned about the House speaker is he knows how to negotiate, that he played it close to the vest, that he didn't talk to his caucus about all the details until he had to, and that we liked negotiating with him. He was a good, tough negotiator."

So, ironically, the administration that has promised sort of openness is going to cut its deals in private because that's the way they work the best.

KING: And one of the reasons people are cynical about this is that the president just a few weeks ago submitted a budget to the Congress that if had wanted to put his proposals to do this on paper, that was the place to do it. So, then a few weeks later, he comes in and says, oh, wait that minute, now, let's essentially amend my own budget with the proposal.

You know, Dana, we know that's why the Republicans are going to say he doesn't mean it, or he's late to the game. What do the Democrats on Capitol Hill think? Ed talked about the interest groups, Move On and the like saying, well, Mr. President, don't you dare? What about his Democrats on the Hill?

BASH: There's similar trepidation. There's no question about it. But they also realize that at least many Democrats I talked to, they need to get in the game. And the Republicans in the House have this big splash with Paul Ryan's budget, which obviously they don't like. They still have not done -- the Democrats obviously run the Senate. They have not seen the Democrats answer here.

So, they do feel like they want the president to get into the game, but they are concerned, as you said, at the beginning of the segment, the president's looking over his left shoulder. There's a good reason for that. A lot of people here are concerned that he's, to be blunt, selling them out.

KING: And it's hard for an incumbent president, Ed, especially an incumbent president has to do business with the other party, to do the two things you just talked about. Number one, he has to seem responsible, he has to try to negotiate with them. He has no choice. On the other hand, he is starting to gear up a campaign where he knows his base, especially if unemployment's still around 8 percent, he's got to get every single one of them out to vote.

HENRY: He's got to get the base excited. You're absolutely right. And the base is pretty upset with him right now, dating back to what you mentioned before, which is the December tax deal, extending the Bush tax cuts. They're mad about that. They're mad about last week's budget deal and they're very apprehensive about what he's going to lay out here.

I was talking to a senior Democrat who advises the White House, outside the White House today, who was saying, look, you know, every time this president sits down with Speaker Boehner to Gloria's point about negotiating skills, the president seems to give up another $5 billion, $10 billion, $20 billion. It's like the spending cuts keep going up, if you think where the president and congressional Democrats started a couple months ago, they were talking about no spending cuts on the table. It keeps going up.

But this president has a much different reality than congressional Democrats.

BORGER: Right.

HENRY: He's going for the election where him going to the middle and having liberal Democrats mad at him is not a bad thing.

KING: Not necessarily. All right. It's fascinating politics and it happens to be -- happens to be -- incredibly important policy, as well.

Ed Henry, Dana Bash, Gloria Borger -- thank you.

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