Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Who's the Maximalist Here, Jay?

Last week, when asked if the president would embrace Senator McConnell’s invitation to Capitol Hill to discuss the budget impasse, White House spokesman Jay Carney was direct in giving his opinion of the Senator’s offer. “What the Senator invited the President to do was to hear Senate Republicans restate their maximalist position. We know what that position is. And he also invited him to hear… what would not pass. That's not a conversation worth having. What we need to have is a conversation about what will pass. ”

His use of the word “maximalist” immediately creates a glaring “pot and kettle” moment for the White House spokesman. Three more times during this interview, Carney applied the term “maximalist” to describe Republican opposition to the president. The suggestion of this redundant reminder, of course, is that while the president is willing to make concessions and compromise, Republicans are bullheadedly “drawing lines in the sand.” Yet what is our gracious president actually offering his opposition? He demands that Republicans defy their constituents and be willing to embrace tax hikes and trillions of dollars in new debt over the coming decade- and if they do not, he won’t even talk to them. He’ll just plug his ears, and run off to Pennsylvania to attend a fundraiser like he did last week.

It's hard to think of a more "maximalist" position than that. So the implication that the president’s position is conducive to compromise while Republicans are just stubborn as mules must be the result of a deceptive political campaign to vilify opposition.

And as we’ve come to expect of the Obama administration, that’s exactly what it is.

William Sullivan

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