My old pal Hecate with some advice for the president:
So, I’m an old woman who didn’t go to HLS and wouldn’t presume to imagine that I could lead the United States. But I’ll still, as someone who’s actually been in the field, practiced law, and successfully negotiated good outcomes for my clients, presume to give Mr. Obama some advice.
If I were sitting today where you sit, Mr. Obama, almost at the confluence of the Anacostia River, the Washington Chanel, and the Potomac River, here’s what I’d do:
I’d announce that, now that the government’s been closed for two days, I’m unwilling to sign anything but a clean bill to fund the government, except that now I also want the Rapeublicans to approve all of my judicial nominees who have been languishing in Congress lo these many years.
Tomorrow morning, I’d eat breakfast, put on my nice suit, walk out into the Rose Garden (it’s gorgeous in DC this week) and announce that now that I’ve slept on it, I won’t sign anything except a clean bill with approval of all of my judicial nominees and statehood for DC. I’d wave to the reporters, go play golf (include a woman this time, Mr. President), review their homework with my daughters, and get a massage.
On Friday, after I had lunch at the Palm with my wife (have the crabmeat cocktail and the steak salad, rare), I’d walk up to Dupont Circle and say that I’d been discussing it with Ms. Obama and, now, I’m unwilling to sign anything except a clean bill with approval of all of my judicial appointees, statehood for DC, and a new bill of Elizabeth Warren’s choosing.
I’d take the weekend off, go to Camp David, let the girls and the dogs run around and enjoy Indian Summer in Maryland, have dinner with some crazy, wild-eyed liberals, and make sure the press knew who they were and what we ate (include arugula and craft beer on the menu).
On Monday, I’d wait.
On Tuesday, I’d give a speech and announce that, having thought about it over the weekend, in the calm of Camp David, I also need a new program of really strong controls on financial markets.
You get the picture.
Right now, the only people upping the ante are the Rapeublicans. In order to “meet in the middle” and appear “reasonable” Mr. Obama has to move towards their position. That’s no way to negotiate.
Rapeublicans who are watching the polls go even further down on the notion of shutting down the government (they’ve already crossed that Rubicon — another river reference — so what the heck), need some additional motivation to move towards Mr. Obama. And they need to see that continuing to hold out will cost them even more.
Maybe, in the end, Mr. Obama shows what a reasonable guy he is by compromising on a new bill of Elizabeth Warren’s choosing and half of his judicial appointees. That’s how negotiations work.