Maybe it’s my 20 years as a labor lawyer, having gone through dozen and dozens of collective bargaining negotiating sessions, but I’m amazed at how little the press and activists on both sides understand what is going on.
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In order to get the best deal for his side, [Speaker Boehner] has to convince both his own side and the other side that there is no more room to spare. So, first you let the clock run down toward midnight. The media hysteria helps Boehner in this regard. Then — and this is important — it can not come down to a single issue. A savvy negotiator needs two. Oh, and look — Boehner has two.
He has the riders and he has the amount of cuts. If the Democrats really can’t abide by the riders, they have to agree to more cuts. If they can’t go any higher on cuts, they need to fork over something on riders. This is rudimentary negotiation strategy.
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And sure enough (as I wrote this morning) Boehner is going to get his way today, passing a week extension and funding for the Defense Department through the end of FY 2011. No way that doesn’t get passed by the Senate and signed by the president. And in a few days (maybe less) there will be a deal on the rest. And rest assured, Boehner will have squeezed the Dems as hard as possible. You’ll know because he will get either more than $33 billion in cuts or something on the riders. Could be hopeful.
Boehner does, indeed, come from a business executive background, so this makes sense.
As the Zen Master said of the little boy who got a pony, "we'll see."