President Obama Does Play Hardball as John Boehner Hits Panic Button
President Obama Does Play Hardball as John Boehner Hits Panic Button (Photo credit: Donkey Hotey)

The media was always quick to say President Obama doesn’t play hardball. Well, he did this time around by telling Republicans led by Teahadist Ted Cruz that he wasn’t negotiating. He dared them to shutdown the government and default. The shutdown has been disastrous for the US Congress, but particularly the Republican Party. Seems like House Speaker John Boehner has hit a panic after being led like a lamb to the slaughter by Tea Party extremists.

The New York Times says President Obama’s risky strategy in facing down Congress, mainly the Teahadists, is likely to win the day. The liberal-leaning media has finally acknowledged that Obama knows how to play hardball politics. Even if Valerie Jarrett helped him to take that stance. Here’s more from the New York Times:

“I’m not going through this again. It’s bad for democracy. It’s bad for the presidency,” Mr. Obama said, according to the adviser, who declined to be identified describing internal discussions. The president then told the group — his Treasury secretary, chief Congressional lobbyist, chief economic adviser and both his and the vice president’s chiefs of staff — to spread that word, “even in your body language.”

Since then, so has Mr. Obama. To make his message on the debt ceiling stick, he had to deliver it, repeatedly, not only to Republicans convinced that he would “cave,” as many often have said, but also to business groups, the broader public and even to Democrats in Congress. Failure could shake not only the economy, but also Mr. Obama’s presidency, given his reputation, fair or not, for drawing red lines and then watching foes cross them.

The current fight is hardly over, yet the steady retreat of House Republicans since late last week, when they first proposed a short-term increase in the debt limit without policy strings, suggests that Mr. Obama’s big gamble could be paying off. It is a stand that was, and still is, fraught with risks if neither side backs down.

But scorched by the July 2011 fight that hurt the economy and his political standing (though not so badly as the Republicans’), Mr. Obama was determined to undo the precedent he had set by making concessions — in that case, more than $2 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, including the across-the-board reductions known as sequestration — so that Congress would ensure that the government paid its bills.

The year began with an early test of the president’s approach, and, for a time, it was vindicated. With Mr. Obama having been re-elected and Republicans chastened by November losses, Speaker

The NY Times article comes as the Houston Chronicle slammed Sen. Ted Cruz, the engineer of the government shutdown in an op-ed asking, “does anyone miss Kay Bailey Hutchison?”

We’re not sure how much difference one person could make in the toxic, chaotic, hyperpartisan atmosphere in Washington, but if we could choose just one it would be Hutchison, whose years of service in the Senate were marked by two things sorely lacking in her successor,Ted Cruz.

For one thing, Hutchison had an unswerving commitment to the highest and best interests of Texas at all times. This revealed itself in a thousand different ways. Hereabouts, we miss her advocacy for NASA, the Port of Houston and the energy industry. And we know she worked just as hard for Dallas, San Antonio and a hundred smaller Texas cities and towns.