For a smart guy, President Barack Obama has surprisingly poor bargaining skills. Putting lots of tax cuts in the too-small stimulus without insisting on Republican concessions made the Recovery Act less stimulative but failed to win bipartisan support for it. Expanding off-shore oil drilling without gaining anything concrete from Republicans did nothing to advance a comprehensive energy bill.
Despite those failures, Obama still seems unable to start negotiations from a position of strength. To set the tone for his first post-election meeting with Congressional Republican leaders, the president announced a new policy designed to appeal to conservatives, with no strings attached. During yesterday’s meeting, he even apologized to top Republicans for not reaching out to them more.
Naturally, Republicans haven’t made any policy gestures toward the president this week, nor have they apologized for not working constructively with him.
Millions of Americans will pay the price for Obama’s inability to grasp basic negotiating tactics.Continue Reading...