During the 2012 presidential election campaign, Republicans couldn’t shake the image they only cared about big business and tax cuts for the wealthy. President Obama and fellow Democrats may have given the GOP a giftwrapped Christmas gift; the ammunition they need to do just that in the 2014 midterm elections.
The president, fresh off a successful campaign which featured him excoriating the wealthy and business executives as uncaring, will be holding a meeting with many of those same executives Wednesday to get their thoughts on the budget issues facing the government and the nation as a whole. Tuesday, he met with small business owners as part of a what Republicans not as brainstorming sessions to find solutions, but as a political campaign to make his opponents look bad, at least that’s what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) believes.
“Look: we already know the president is a very good campaigner. What we don’t know is whether he has the leadership qualities necessary to lead his party to a bipartisan agreement on a big issue like this.”
McConnell blasted the president and Democrats during a Monday speech on the Senate floor, claiming that while Republicans have been willing to go outside their own comfort zone, Democrats have not been willing to meet them on the issues. The looming fiscal cliff mandates are beginning to weigh heavily on not just politicians, but also on Wall Street firms. Goldman Sachs, whose CEO is one of the executives the president is set to meet with tomorrow, told CBS’ Scott Pelley Nov. 21 that the government is now in waters which are far more dangerous than they understand.
“Washington is playing with fire. And you don’t get — it’s not like a football game where you get the two minute warning. They don’t tell you when you have — you know, you only get one more chance. And in some ways the fact that we’re able to fund ourselves, finance ourselves, people willing to lend to us so cheaply lulls people into a false sense of security.”
While Obama has drawn a lot of flak for the scheduled meeting, he insists he is not playing politics. However, that claim appears to be belied by a speech given by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) on Tuesday to the liberal think tank Center for American Progress. The part of his speech which was fiery in its call to preserve entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security was soon followed by more tempered words regarding taxing the wealthy, a consistent battle cry for the Democrat’s left wing.
“We can’t be so naive as to believe that just taxing the rich is going to solve our problems.”
Both sides of the aisle are blaming each other for the current impasse which, left unchecked, could lead to some $500 billion in spending cuts affecting both defense programs and entitlements. In addition, as steep tax increases for both upper and middle income Americans could push the nation into a deep, prolonged recession, one which could lead to voter rage in the 2014 midterm elections.