Arena Asks: Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Aug. 6 day of prayer and fasting is generating significant heat nationwide. Advocates for the separation of church and state say an elected leader should not be leading what looks to be, in effect, an evangelical Christian revival. Is there something inappropriate about the day of prayer and fasting sponsored by Perry, a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate? Or is it an innocuous affirmation of the role of faith in public life?
My Answer: Now that we have two presidential hopefuls who claim to have been called by God, we are sure to see an escalating number of these theatrical events aimed at giving God a chance to show who is more chosen than the other…
Answering today’s question, I realized there are two distinctly different kinds of deals: those that produce new ideas and those that reduce all ideas to the lowest common denominator.
Arena Asks:Facing the imminent prospect of default, the White House and Senate Republicans worked through Sunday to close a debt ceiling deal that gives President Barack Obama greater certainty in managing the Treasury’s borrowing needs while making a joint commitment to major deficit reduction without any explicit concessions by the GOP on new tax revenues. Is this a good deal? Which side came out ahead?
My Answer: Unlike Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, which created an expansive new vision for America, this Obama–Boehner–Tea Party Deal lowers our sights as a nation. It’s a deal in the negative, narrow, horse trading sense of the word. It is a leadership fail all around…
Thanks to Victoria Pynchon for this excellent cross post, originally published on Forbes.com — it’s jam packed with advice Congress really ought to take before the next seemingly intractable debate.
Be sure to read down to recommendation #8. Seems like great minds think alike
As the Charlotte Observer noted this morning, with six days remaining before “expected economic chaos,” our leaders “not only can’t agree on a grand vision for how to get America’s debt under control, they can’t even take the basic steps needed to pay all the bills and avert financial panic.” Until the crisis is solved, we will continue our series of negotiation advice for the Democrats and the GOP from some of the leading lights in the negotiation world.
If ever there was a moment when women should take the lead without waiting to be asked by the men in leadership, this is it. My proposal for resolving the budget/debt ceiling impasse:
Arena Asks: Washington wakes up this morning to a scary possibility: could the government actually default? If Boehner is unable to rally votes, the balance of power could shift back toward the Senate. Has the postponed vote given Democrats the leverage they need to convince Boehner to take a new course? Is it the Senate’s turn for a crack at the debt ceiling debacle?
My Answer:It’s time for all the moms in Congress to get together, sit the men down, propose a choice of two solutions like we do with children, and tell them they aren’t going out to play again until an agreement is reached.
I couldn’t resist answering this one. No wonder I don’t get my calls returned by the White House.
Arena Asks: Reporting long-simmering strains between President Barack Obama and his own liberal supporters. Progressives are upset about the White House’s verbal acceptance of a debt ceiling package tilted heavily toward spending cuts, along with this spring’s budget compromise, and the tax cut deal at the end of 2010. Do the president’s past supporters on the left have legitimate gripes? Will Obama face a primary challenge? Should he?
My Answer:Progressives have very legitimate gripes. But the way to vindicate them is to win decisively in House of Representatives races next year. Some stunning progressive victories over Tea Partiers would yield an emboldened Obama too. That’s the better use of progressive energy…
Arena Asks: President Barack Obama called on the American people Monday night to send the message to Congress that it must approve a “balanced” approach to resolving the stalemate over the debt ceiling and deficit.
Will the president’s latest plea for a “fair” compromise spur lawmakers to a deal? Are these public appearances helping the president’s cause?
My Answer: Personally, I’m sick and tired of Obama’s “balanced” approach. I think he must put forward a much stronger agenda to draw the debate closer to his position and engage people emotionally in his vision for the future if he wants to break the logjam…
I’m getting a headache from talking about Michelle Bachmann’s headaches.
Read on and let me know what you think.
Arena Asks: Michele Bachmann’s campaign has been overshadowed this week by questions about her chronic migraine attacks – a condition that has proved debilitating.
Could Bachmann’s migraine problem interfere with her ability to serve as president?
And was she smart to preemptively release information about her migraines?
No introductory remarks needed here. This guy busted himself. Your thoughts?
Arena Asks: Amid the House budget debate Wednesday freshman Republican Rep. Allen West dispatched a scathing personal email to Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, calling her “vile, unprofessional ,and despicable,” “a coward,” “characterless,” and “not a Lady,” and demanding that she “shut the heck up.”
Does West owe an apology to Wasserman Schultz? Or were his remarks in line with reasonable political discourse?
Wasserman Schultz spoke about substance, whether one agrees with her or not…
You know the drill — Politico’s Arena asks, I answer. I’d like to know what you would have said, so please tell me in the comments section below.
Arena Asked: President Barack Obama, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warn of calamitous effects if the nation’s debt ceiling is not raised soon. But a few prominent Republicans, such as Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a presidential candidate, say nothing much would happen and blast the administration for its “scare tactics.”
Are Bachmann and co. naive about the consequences of default? Or do they have a point? Might this be the economic equivalent of Y2K, the turn-of-the-21 century computer scare that ended up causing minimal damage?
Politico’s Arena asked a really interesting question today. I’d love to know what you think and whether you agree with my assessment. Am I too optimistic? OMG I hope not!
Arena Asked: Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) is drawing comparisons in her Republican presidential bid with another longshot candidate – Howard Dean, for a few months in 2003-04 the leading Democratic contender to challenge President George W. Bush. Both have drawn big summer crowds by pledging to confront