Statesmanship at its finest: during fiscal cliff talks, President Obama reportedly told Speaker Boehner that he would use his two major speeches in January to blame Republicans for the stalled deal. According to the Wall Street Journal, the president wasn't too happy with the options House Republicans were willing to present, and made it clear he was willing to throw the GOP under the bus for the nation's financial woes.
Mr. Obama repeatedly lost patience with the speaker as negotiations faltered. In an Oval Office meeting last week, he told Mr. Boehner that if the sides didn't reach agreement, he would use his inaugural address and his State of the Union speech to tell the country the Republicans were at fault.
At one point, according to notes taken by a participant, Mr. Boehner told the president, "I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?"
"You get nothing," the president said. "I get that for free."
Sounds like those talks are going really well.
In seriousness, the article makes clear that the president has refused any and all deals Boehner has offered, even those in which Republicans capitulated on tax hikes for the wealthy, an Obama staple. It's clear that the president and the House are both unwilling to bend to one anothers' terms, and it's disconcerting to see that Obama would rather use his platform to keep pointing fingers than for some more inspiring message, nevermind swallowing his pride and accepting a semi-viable deal.
Obama claims to have modeled himself after Lincoln, but it certainly doesn't sound like he's minding his favored predecessor's example of how to compose a second inaugural address in times of turmoil:
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Imagine the man who spoke those words coming before his country in a time of distress and blaming a rival political party for all the nation's ills; it's impossible. Obama is a well-known admirer of the Lincoln biography "Team of Rivals," but while he's talking to the other side, he seems unwilling to listen. Apparently, he's content with laying blame and saving face at the expense of the nation's financial health.