On the debt-ceiling meeting yesterday at the White House with Obama and the House Republicans:
If the [dead-ceiling] vote yesterday was a stunt, then the meeting today was a stunt. It isn’t as if, as Juan implied, the president had to have the Republicans in to present their proposal. He knows it quite well — as does everybody else. He and the other Democrats have been demagoguing it for three weeks now.
The reason he had the Republicans in [was] so he can look bipartisan.
Obviously, nothing happened. Then what we heard from Jay Carney [is that] in a forum like this, with so many people in the room, you can’t possibly have specifics. Why then didn’t the president invite just the leadership to talk about specifics?…
What is happening here is exactly what has happened for the last year — and for decades. When you ask voters: Do you want to cut the deficit — as in the [debt-ceiling] vote yesterday, where you got overwhelming majority [voting] yes, and as you’ve got in the public opinion polls running nine to one against simply raising the debt limit with nothing else — [you get] overwhelming public support for cuts.
Then you offer them a real cut in Medicare — and you get NY-26 [a major electoral defeat]. The president is laying a bet that, by opposing specific cuts, he wins politically.
The president has chartered a course of remarkable cynicism in the way he attacked the Republican plan and presented none of his own. He hasn’t offered anything. And the Senate, for example, hasn’t even offered a budget — which is required to do by law. The Democrats are placing a bet on cynicism. They might win the election on that.