President Obama faces huge, and probably insurmountable, obstacles to reviving a grand bargain — none higher and more difficult to overcome than his decision to increase taxes by $600 billion in December.
At the time, Obama claimed victory, slapping new taxes on the rich while protecting George W. Bush’s cuts for everyone else. In retrospect, it looks more like a missed opportunity than a political or policy triumph.
“I’m waiting for my dinner invitation,” the Republican joshed to Obama, referring to the president’s recent evening out with Republican senators. “I listen to Paul,” Obama replied, according to McCarthy, referring to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan. Then, in what McCarthy took as a reference to a political charm offensive, he recalled Obama saying, “You guys give us too much credit. We’re not doing all that stuff you think we are.” As told by McCarthy, Obama then said that if Republicans are going to get entitlement reform, “You need me.” As McCarthy walked away, the congressman thought: “He’s still a law professor. He’d rather lecture you and put a red mark on your paper than talk to you.”