Obama’s Rope-a-Dope Strategy

This TalkLeft article articulates something I’ve been worrying about for a while. (See How To Lose An Argument In Order To, Maybe, Win An Election.) The basic idea is that Obama is playing to lose on the budget and the economy, and maybe even social security. The idea is to goad the Republicans into making outrageous demands by signaling preemptive surrender to them.

When the GOP seizes on the red meat being trailed in front of them and enacts their plans, it causes pain.   The plan then is to blame them for all the pain, collect lots of campaign money from Main Street, and get re-elected.

I hope this is wrong, but where is the evidence for that proposition?

The cheerfulish form of this theory is that if you have a weak hand all you can do is get the other side to overplay theirs in order to spark a reaction that will strengthen your hand; i.e. the is just the sort of long game that great n-dimensional chess players engage in.  But it’s not a cheerful process, and in a world of path-dependence lots can go wrong on the way.

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7 Responses to Obama’s Rope-a-Dope Strategy

  1. mfr24 says:

    Will never be able to understand how control of the Executive branch and Senate is a weak hand.

  2. Just me says:

    “Will never be able to understand how control of the Executive branch and Senate is a weak hand.” It is because they are Democrats, and Republicans are just better at politics.

  3. Regarding “The plan then is to blame them for all the pain”, there’s an obvious problem that it may not work – everything from “both sides” to “it was the fault of [insert scapegoat here]”. Also “collect lots of campaign money from Main Street” assumes there is lots of money to be collected – the pain works against that, plus _Citizen’s United_ changed the rules of the game.

  4. Just me says:

    May I also add that letting a bad plan that you believe may “cause pain” succeed is a dereliction of duty.

    “When the GOP seizes on the red meat being trailed in front of them and enacts their plans, it causes pain. The plan then is to blame them for all the pain, collect lots of campaign money from Main Street, and get re-elected.” If this is actually the plan it is Machiavellian and immoral.

    This plan could backfire by simply souring voters.

  5. mfr24 says:

    Yes, President Obama does not “control” the Senate, but the team he captains does, and with a strong, united front and actual negotiation skills, they could accomplish more.

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