Is President Obama bluffing on his veto threat?

Keith Hennessey thinks that President Obama is bluffing on his veto threat.

President Obama’s veto threat decision is not just about fiscal policy, and it’s not just about who gets blamed for a legislative failure.  It’s about whether the President wants to cause a recession in 2013 and hamstring his second term.  No matter what he or his advisors say, he cannot afford to take that risk.

It’s a good argument, but it has one small problem: it assumes that President Obama is capable of making a rational risk analysis in this matter, or indeed in any other.  Judging from his tenure thus far, President Obama does not have a good handle on judging when other people are or are not serious about their policy positions.  So, yes, Barack Obama may indeed veto the eventual deal and thus start a recession.  Confidently.  Heedlessly. With both eyes open.

:shrug: If that’s how it’s going to go down…

Via Instapundit.

Moe Lane

8 thoughts on “Is President Obama bluffing on his veto threat?”

  1. Obama is not going to have to use a veto, he has Harry Reid controlling the Senate. The GOP either capitulates in the House or doesn’t and gets vilified by the Media and Democrats for screwing the economy.

    The trap is obvious. Boehner and the GOP can get through it provided they shows some balls and makes clear to the public what our position is. But just capitulating to the Democrats is not a good plan.

  2. He also presumes that Obama wouldn’t see the likely outcome of “economic disaster blamed on the Republicans, and millions more on the government dole” as a net positive outcome.

  3. Oh, start talking about irrational players and I instinctively want to start doing some Nash equilibrium analyses.

    I think Obama is perfectly rational in all this. He sees this as a win-win situation: either the House Republicans cave and Obama gets a new wave of economic-destroying policies (with a free scapegoat when those policies do as they are intended to do) or they don’t and get blamed for the previous wave of economic-destroying policies baked into the last “fiscal cliff averting” compromise. Either way, Obama gets to stab the American economy in the kidneys again and blame the Republicans when the economy does not grow whilst bleeding to death on the floor.

  4. The more dependent American citizens are, the stronger the Democratic coalition is. Making meaninful concessions would actively weaken the Democratic coalition, both by fracturing interest groups all wanting their piece of the pie, and by generally improving economic circumstances.
    I don’t see Obama (or Reid) being willing to make meaningful concessions. So, no, they’re not irrational actors. They just have the blue-orange morality thing going on.

    Of course, Bush will be blamed. The Dems are still blaming Hoover.

  5. I’m with Acat here. Let it burn. O’bama is bound and determined to inflict a new Dark Age on humanity. Debt we’re never going to be able to repay a debased currency and a fracturing society the Darkness descends on us all. I’m not even sure it’s worth trying to stave off anymore.

  6. Truthfully, I’m mainly looking forward to a day when I no longer have to defend Keynes. It’s like the Obama crew went through his work, found every “do not”, and systematically started doing every single one. All in the name of “Keynesianism”. The cynicism is breathtaking.

    Maybe it was an experiment in alternative energy sources. They defiled Keynes’s corpse with magnets, and wrapped the coffin in copper wire…

  7. Truth be told, I am also having a problem figuring out if Obama’s opponents are serious about their policy positions lately.

    Also, I can’t see why anyone would predict Obama or the Democrats getting blamed for much of anything these days. If we go into a recession, it will be Bush’s fault, or maybe it will be Bain Capital that is blamed, it won’t be Obama.

    It seems to me Republicans are just not popular and conservatism is a minority belief system these days. The Republican leadership can either hold onto core conservative beliefs, and probably get by hold onto one house of Congress for now. Or they can jettison core beliefs and hope for some perfect combination of identity politics, charisma, and luck; for a chance at a winning candidate in 2016.

    Sure things can change, the mood of the country can turn, at least it always has in the past. However, maybe I am just down on politics and our prospects lately, but what I see is structural change in the heart of America. What I see is a nation slowly and steadily declining. Ash heap philosophies such as Marxism don’t seem all that dead anymore.

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