The 2012 season is truly upon us.
At a high-roller fundraiser last night in Chicago president Obama talked a little trash about his negotiating partners in the latest budget negotiations. This was supposedly a slip-up — off-color commentary made unknowingly in front of an open mic. But the president and his staff are too fastidious for that explanation to hold water; these are the same folks who stuffed a reporter in a broom closet during a recent Biden fundraiser rather than let him hear what gets said to the money people.
No, this has the hallmarks of a faux fuckup. Democrats across the land have been wondering where Obama's heart has been in these negotiations. They see him giving away the farm (or, at a minimum, the Gray Wolf) and they're suspicious.
Now that the hard bargaining is done, and now that that president's back in campaign mode, Obama both needs and can afford to let Democrats hear a piece of his progressive mind.
And what does he want his supporters to know?
A) He's never going to bargain away Health Care Reform as as rider to a budget deal. Obama was "overheard" telling donors what he told a staffer for John Boener: "You're not going to be able to do that by nickel and diming me in the budget; do you think we're stupid?"
B) He thinks Paul Ryan is full of it. Obama said bluntly: "Paul Ryan says he's just being America's accountant and trying to be responsible... This is the same guy who voted for two wars that weren't paid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that weren't paid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill but wasn't paid for!"
A little red meat, judiciously phrased, in what will be reported as off-the-cuff remarks. Politics well played.
The full audio can be heard here.