RUSH: Now, there was supposed to be a big confab, the bipartisan meeting on the Bush tax cuts with President Obama. It was supposed to be held this week, but they have postponed it now to November 30th. Now, I’ll tell you what’s shaping up here. Dingy Harry’s out there saying it, they don’t want to extend the current tax rates, the so-called Bush tax cuts for people in the upper bracket, the so-called rich. Dingy Harry is out there calling that charity. At the same time, as we told you earlier in the program, extended unemployment benefits for millions of Americans are set to expire pretty soon, and the Democrats want those to be extended. So it looks like what’s gonna happen here is that the Democrats will offer to go along with a temporary extension of all tax rates, including for the rich, if our guys will agree to an extension of extended unemployment benefits. I think something like two million people on November 30th, if I remember right, will lose their benefits if nothing is done. That happens to be the day for which the meeting has been rescheduled.
Now, this is in the Washington Post: ‘The postponement — whatever the reason — was a bad omen for Obama, who was counting on the summit to start turning around his political fortunes. It appeared to signal that Republicans are less anxious than the White House to launch a new era of bipartisanship, and it was a stark example of Obama’s diminished ability to get members of Congress to bend to his will.’ So they’re making it look like the Republicans are the ones that requested the postponement. I don’t know that that’s true, but the issue is a no-brainer. I don’t know why postpone this unless they think there’s some pressure that is being added to Obama here. Here’s how the Washington Post describes this: ‘The bipartisan White House meeting President Obama had hoped to hold this week to discuss tax cuts and other matters has been postponed, officials said Tuesday.
‘Obama had summoned congressional leaders from both parties for a gathering Thursday to discuss the way forward after the midterm elections. The meeting was to focus on economic concerns, particularly the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 that are set to expire at year’s end. But the White House said in a statement Tuesday night that the meeting had been rescheduled ‘at the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner due to scheduling conflicts in organizing their caucuses.’ The meeting will instead be held on Nov. 30,’ which, again, is the date that the extended unemployment benefits are set to expire.
The postponement just means that these important issues are going to get very little attention because Congress will go on its Christmas vacation not long after November the 30th. I have to laugh at this phrase here: ‘It appeared to signal that Republicans are less anxious than the White House to launch a new era of bipartisanship.’ What is this obsession with bipartisanship? Remember we quoted from the Richard Wolffe book, Rahm Emanuel never believed in bipartisanship. The other side doesn’t believe in it. The only time it ever matters is when Republicans are in charge and then the press and everybody else starts caterwauling about bipartisanship. So we’ll have to wait and see what happened.
‘Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell (R-Ky.), said earlier that the meeting ‘was never confirmed in the first place.’ Stewart added: ‘The meeting will happen, the schedulers just haven’t confirmed the date/time yet. Nobody ‘pulled out.” The postponement – whatever the reason – was a bad omen for Obama.’ I don’t know. We’ll see. Maybe this is a wise move. Why give Obama an extra minute to demagogue the issue? Why give him time to twist arms? This issue’s a no-brainer. I think Obama should have to play on the Republicans’ schedule and on their field, which what they’ve done now is tighten the time frame. They have sort of ratcheted down the time frame the Democrats and Obama have to work on this. And as the delay continues, there will be pressure to act. I guess the figuring is that Obama’s been placed at a disadvantage here, and it’s clear that one impression left is that Obama does not call the shots on this stuff anymore, which is a major, major change. Do you think this woulda happened three weeks after the election in 2008? If Obama had requested a bipartisan meeting in his transition period, do you think the Republicans would have said, screw you? It would not have happened at all. This is a great indication of the major shift in the balance of power.
RUSH: Ezra Klein this morning on Joe Scarborough’s show on PMSNBC, they’re talking about Democrats being in disarray, and Scarborough says, ‘Ezra, one of the key players, when you talk about budget negotiations, sorting through the tax cuts, is the budget chairman in the Senate, Kent Conrad. You sat down, you talked with him. What’s his take?’
KLEIN: His take struck me as almost depressed. I don’t know that he has seen Democrats quite so inexplicably in disarray on an issue. They have no idea what their strategy is on this. Kent Conrad has come forward and said we could do a short-term extension and tie it to tax reform. Other voices in the party want to get rid of tax cuts for the rich. Others want to tie it to unemployment insurance or a rise in the debt ceiling. Kent Conrad couldn’t tell me what the Democrats were gonna do, nor could anyone else. The degree to which Democrats have not been able to pull together a strategy on this issue given the amount of time they have had to do so is absolutely appalling.
RUSH: Now, the Politico is saying that the GOP postponement of the meeting is a big deal, ratcheting up even more pressure down, we should say, on Obama. The debt ceiling is also something they are gonna try to make political hay out of. You watch. They’re running around, the Democrats, ‘Well, what would you cut? What would you cut? What would you cut, huh? You want to cut the budget, why, you gonna raise the debt ceiling, you want people to starve?’ They’re gonna play that card out of the box because they’ll tie the tax cut being extended to something. But regardless they’re in disarray. What are they in disarray about? What could they possibly be in disarray about? And that is they don’t know what the impact of their decision is going to be. Folks, they got shellacked. And they know, I mean the public consumption is it was messaging. They know it wasn’t messaging. They know full well why they lost big, and it’s Obama. And they know they’ve got even more seats in the Senate at risk in 2012. McCaskill is one of them.
Last night Sergeant Schultz was speaking to Katrina vanden Heuvel on his show. Sergeant Schultz, of course, (imitating Schultz) ‘I know nothink, nothink!’ Sergeant Schultz said to Katrina vanden Heuvel, ‘Do you think Obama has it in him to change?’
VANDEN HEUVEL: This is a man who rose out of almost nowhere who had the audacity and the strength to get elected as president of the United States, and he must understand that he needs to recalibrate. He was rolled by the bankers, rolled by the generals, rolled by the Blue Dogs, rolled by the Republicans. He is a man of intense intelligence. He has to see this is not a faith-based presidency. Americans voted.
RUSH: He’s brilliant. Obama is brilliant. You heard her. Obama is a man of intense intelligence. But somehow everybody on earth rolled him. The Republicans rolled him, the bankers rolled him, the generals rolled him, the Blue Dogs rolled him, but he’s really smart. Really. He’s brilliant, just brilliant, but everybody outsmarted him somehow. And now he has to recalibrate. Last night on CNN John King USA, Senator McCaskill, who likes her love pats before getting on airplanes, was asked, ‘Looking ahead to 2012, knowing the president’s standing in your state, down quite a bit, do you envision campaigning side by side with the president or would you rather campaign for reelection on your own?’
MCCASKILL: You know, I think the president has to really focus on getting elected to a second term in 2012, and I need to focus on making sure I’m accountable to the people of Missouri. If our paths cross, that’s great.
RUSH: This is the first of many Democrats sending an unmistakable signal to the White House: You keep him away from me.
RUSH: Let’s move forward to audio sound bite number 12. Alan Simpson last night was on the Charlie Rose Show. Of course, Alan Simpson, the bipartisan debt commission co-chairman, former Republican Senator from Wyoming. And Charlie Rose said, ‘People know we can’t keep borrowing like this –‘ Obama does not know that, Charlie. The Democrats do not know that, Charlie. And if they know it, they’re not heeding it. It’s not just borrowing, it’s printing. I’m sorry, I get distracted by these guys. Charlie Rose said, ‘People know we can’t keep borrowing like this because they can’t do it in their own budgets, so they know their country can’t survive by doing it.’ Charlie, you voted for this! There’s no doubt you voted for this!
Do you ever feel like you are surrounded by fools? I mean at all levels. I’m exhaling. I’m trying to maintain my composure here. Of all the times to tell us, who knew that you can’t spend more than you have? Who knew this? What wizard figures this out after two generations of debt have been stolen? (imitating Rose) ‘I don’t know what books he reads. I don’t know who his mentors are. I don’t know that much about him, but by God I’m gonna vote for him because I’m a good person.’ Okay, so that’s the question Charlie Rose is asking Alan Simpson Babe, ‘People know we can’t keep borrowing like this because they can’t do it in their own budgets, so they know their country can’t survive by doing it.’ You voted for this, Charlie. It’s your fault! Sorry, folks. Here’s Simpson’s answer.
SIMPSON: When those guys get here that say we’re going to cut 40 percent, well, Merry Christmas, the drinks are on me. And if you can’t compromise an issue without compromising yourself you’re not a legislator. You’re just an ineffective totem. If you can’t learn how to compromise an issue without compromising yourself, go home.
RUSH: What’s he talking about? He’s talking about the Tea Party. Alan Simpson, ‘Oh, yeah, say you’re gonna cut 40%, well, Merry Christmas, drinks are on me. If you can’t compromise an issue without compromising yourself you’re not a legislator.’ Well, now, that tells us a lot. (laughing) The measure of a legislator is how much you compromise.