Psst! Don’t tell anyone, but the ‘crisis’ is over
Fiscal cliff, fiscal schmiff.
We’ve heard them cry wolf too many times.
Been here, done this before.
Didn’t buy it then. Don’t buy it now.
Political games. Media games.
Nothing but games.
IF YOU PROMISE not to tell anyone, we will give you the scoop.
Obama and Boehner already have a deal.
Shhh! Remember, you heard it here first.
What? The TV media are reporting this is a tense situation ... going down to the wire ... disaster just around the corner.
That’s drama. That’s what sells on television.
No weather calamities are imminent to scare viewers this December, so political conflict and economic catastrophe will have to do.
On Nov. 28, the media reported a “stalemate” in talks to avoid the impending fiscal crisis.
A week later, Boehner said he could not offer a progress report on negotiations because there was no progress.
And the media covered it like a horse race – although the deadline for a deal was still weeks away.
Now, Obama and Boehner are having “frank” discussions ... at night!
It’s all about the story line.
YEAH, YEAH, SURE, the politicians are talking tough.
Obama has to let his people know that the “millionaires and billionaires” will pay their “fair share.”
Boehner has to insist that spending be reduced significantly because “Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem.”
Whatever. Just part of the games.
But the president and the House speaker know how this is going to end.
They cannot, however, make it look too easy.
Both have to posture for their base supporters, to make it look like this is a difficult negotiation, to make it appear as if they are standing firm and not giving in too easily.
And then the deal will be announced, a grand compromise, where both sides give a little, get a little.
Whew! They saved the Republic.
That was close.
BOEHNER, OF COURSE, has the tougher challenge here.
Already he has removed two GOP tea party types from the budget committee as he rallies his troops to the reality of a distasteful political compromise.
The speaker has realized the tea party (Talked Enough Already) enjoyed its 15 months of fame before it flamed out early in the just-concluded political campaign.
That groundswell of hard-line conservatism from the 2010 election was supposed to build through the 2012 election and topple a president and capture the Senate.
But it turned out that 2010 was an aberration that led to unrealistic anticipation.
Polls now show that any Republican reluctance to compromise in avoiding the “fiscal cliff” will cause Republicans to get most of the blame if no solution is reached and everybody’s taxes increase.
After a bitterly disappointing election for them, Boehner and his party look to rebuild a center-right coalition that is more center than right.
We’ll see how that goes.
AMONG THOSE WHO rode the tea party wave in 2010 and wiped out in 2012 was Bobby Schilling, one-term (so far) Republican congressman from Illinois’ 17th District.
Among those who don’t know the election is over is the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.
With the help of a major redrawing of district boundaries by the Democratic majority of the Illinois Legislature, Democrat Cheri Bustos easily unseated Schilling last month.
After not hearing from the NRCC for more than a month, the editor this week received an email that resumed the campaign assault on Bustos and Democrats.
“Will Cheri Bustos Support Obama’s Blank Check Proposal?” the headline read.
“President Obama Wants Unlimited Spending on the Backs of the American People.”
The news release was filled with leftover campaign buzzwords: out of control spending, imploding debt, persistently weak growth, prolonged uncertainty, reckless spending addiction ...
“So will Cheri Bustos support Obama’s big spending plan and bring it up for a vote?”
Believe it or not, Congresswoman Bustos has not yet been sworn in.
Maybe the election isn’t over. Maybe it never will be.
Somebody call the TV people.
The next drama is waiting.