President Barack Obama extended a fiscal olive branch to Republicans on Wednesday. Then he beat them up with it
Obama’s long-anticipated speech on the deficit at George Washington University was one of the oddest rhetorical hybrids
of his presidency – a serious stab at reforming entitlements cloaked in a 2012 campaign speech
that was one of the most overtly partisan broadsides
he’s ever delivered from a podium with a presidential seal.
But the combative tenor
of Obama’s remarks, which included a swipe at his potential GOP challengers in 2012, may have scuttled the stated purpose
of the entire enterprise - starting negotiations with Republicans on a workable bipartisan approach to attacking the deficit.
And it didn’t build much good will ahead of other upcoming fights, especially the looming battle over raising the debt ceiling.
Republicans pronounced any tax hike dead on arrival. And Obama – none too eager to walk the tax plank alone
ahead of a re-election year — intentionally left the details blank
That left Democrats less than sanguine about the prospects for any deal anytime soon
. Republicans, meanwhile, feel out of the loop, a point underscored when virtually no one on the GOP side got a heads-up that Obama planned to move ahead with Wednesday’s speech until senior adviser David Plouffe announced it on the Sunday political talk shows.