While discussing President Obama's push to get the rich to pay their fair share in taxes, and whether or not that's going to help his bid for reelection or not, Fox News Sunday panel members Brit Hume, Bill Kristol and The Hill's A.B. Stoddard all apparently agreed that the best way for President Obama to get reelected would be to commit political suicide and work with Republicans on some "grand bargain" to "reform" "entitlements."
Somehow the topic of how well that worked out for George W. Bush when he was out there pushing to privatize Social Security and the public turning on him never came up during this discussion. Nor did how well going after Medicare worked in the NY-26 race where Democrats were running ads showing Paul Ryan throwing grandma off a cliff in a wheelchair.
Republicans have been completely unwilling to do anything that benefits the working class or the poor and are interested in nothing else than doing everything they can to make sure President Obama is a one-term president. If there's any interest in some "bipartisanship" when it comes to making changes to Social Security or Medicare, there's no reason to think their goal there would not be the same. But never mind that over in upside-down land on Fox.
Transcript via Fox:
WALLACE: Brit -- and I know you don't agree with what a lot of what Juan said, but I think you will agree with this -- the markets both in the U.S. and worldwide are a mess. Growth has stalled, unemployment is high. As we say, we saw the worst week in the stock market since October of 2008.
If the president is all about 2012, what happens in the meantime?
HUME: Well, the truth is, what would help him more than anything else is better results.
Now, you can look at the economy and say, God, it's so much in the doldrums, that it's not going to come out enough to put a big dent in the jobless rate in time for his election, and that's a huge problem. He can't overcome that problem simply by rallying his base. It is a testament to the political weakness he senses that he is working so hard to do that both with the plans that he's outlined and the kind of speech that we saw last night to what ought to have been a drop-dead great audience for him.
He's telling them to get off their butts. I mean, that's an unusual message for somebody at this stage to be saying to the core of his base.
But what I would say is the president could benefit, however, if there were a big, successful deal on the deficit. That would take an issue off the table, it would please Independents, and it would be a bipartisan achievement, all things that would help him with the people -- the swing voters he needs to have a chance to win.
If he can't do any of that, I think his reelection gets to the point of being almost hopeless unless the Republicans nominate some freak.
WALLACE: But, Bill, I mean, I'm reminded of the "Peanuts" cartoon of Charlie Brown trying to kick the football, and Lucy keeps pulling it away at the last second. You know, if you had heard David Plouffe today, he would say, look, the president has tried to get that grand bargaining, he's trying to get that grand deal, and he just can't get a willing partner. So maybe it's realistic not to keep going for that.
KRISTOL: Well, he's president of the United States, and he has an obligation to try and make a concrete proposal the Republicans would then reject. But he hasn't done that.
WALLACE: Well, he did make a concrete proposal.
KRISTOL: Well, really? Not a real concrete proposal, I would say. I mean, what is his Medicare reform?
I was thinking George W. Bush had pretty -- not so great numbers in this time in 2003. He signed the Medicare Part D bill over the objections of a lot of his own base, over the objections of a lot of conservatives. He thought it was the right thing to do. I think he also thought politically, it was smart -- the Republicans had to show they cared about seniors' problems and buying drugs.
It's the opposite strategy of President Obama, and I think it helped Bush in 2004 in a narrow reelection bid. I just can't see how Obama -- he's the president. And 14 months is a long time. And we have real economic problems.
I mean, that is what strikes me the most. Shouldn't he be governing? Shouldn't he be really thinking hard and trying to think, what can we do to really help the economy? Instead, he's going out and giving speeches, rebuild this bridge.
WILLIAMS: But, Bill, President Bush signed that prescription drug benefit without any funding. It has become an albatross in terms of deficits in this country.
And then you think about what the president is saying here in terms of the continuing resolution argument that is paralyzing this Congress, and you say, wait a second, this is hurting the American economy, it's hurting investor confidence. Europe and the banks are in crisis.
We see a decline in terms of manufacturing output coming from China. There's a global economic crisis that threatens a double-dip recession, and these guys continue to play a brinkmanship game on the Republican side. And as Plouffe was saying to Chris Wallace this morning, a very good interview, that, guess what? You know what? These guys don't seem to care.
HUME: Well, wait a minute. Let's just take a look about this latest skirmish.
You need a continuing resolution to keep the government open, there's a need for some more disaster relief fund because it's almost been exhausted. So the Republicans pass a bill that has disaster relief money in it, and it's to the tune of several billion dollars. And they pay for it with cuts in green jobs funding. Well, green jobs funding ought to be by now a very low priority given the history of it and the fact that it's utterly failed to produce meaningful jobs.
They send it to the Senate. What does the Senate do? The Senate blocks it and then does so far nothing.
Now, it may be that with media coverage and the political statements that will be made about this, that if the government shuts down, the Republicans will get the blame. But I ask you in this, who is being responsible and who's playing politics?
STODDARD: I think that we're going to have a deal in the next couple of days on disaster relief and the government is not going to shut down. Both sides are beginning to give. That's going to be resolved in some way that's not clear right now.
But with regards to what Brit said, I do agree, if the president doesn't get back to the table with House Speaker John Boehner and find a path to meaningful entitlement reform, which he was invested in, in July and now he's abandoned, and really find a way to come up with a big deal, it would be very hard for him to convince Americans he did everything he could next spring and summer and fall to get reelected.
WALLACE: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. Thank you, all, panel. See you next week.