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Obama’s Hard Line

He wants a ‘deal’—on his terms.

Dec 24, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 15 • By FRED BARNES
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He’s still bitter about being forced to accept serious spending cuts as the price of raising the debt limit in 2011. “We can’t afford to go there again,” he told the Business Roundtable, the big business lobby. “I want to send a very clear message to people here: We are not going to play that game next year.”

Is there any question about what the president hopes to gain by stepping up his demands? Republicans believe Obama not only wants to exploit their disunity now, but also keep GOP divisions alive to help Democrats capture the House in 2014 and gain full control of Washington. Then his final two years in the White House could match his first two in advancing the liberal transformation of America.

Obama seems more cocksure than ever. “We’ve seen some movement over the last several days among some Republicans,” he told the CEOs. Last week, he predicted Republicans will cave. “I’m pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle-class taxes hostage to trying to protect tax cuts for high-income individuals,” he told Barbara Walters.

A confident president against Republicans who are not confident at all​—​it’s not a fair fight. And for that, Republicans can mainly blame themselves.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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