Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Art of the Deal or How to negotiate a rise in the debt ceiling

The AP writer calls these negotiation tactics 'shifts.' I would call them something else.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The roller-coaster debate over raising the nation's debt limit has forced the White House to explain away, brush aside or even ignore declarations by President Barack Obama and aides that no longer served much purpose in the unpredictable negotiations.

Source: News from The Associated Press

How do you negotiate? I suggest any negotiator would tell you that if a deal is the goal, then erratically changing one's position is counter-productive; irrationality does not allow the other party to predict where you are signalling you are headed or anticipate what you might be ready to accept.

First, the White House wanted a congressional vote separated from spending cuts. Now the administration likes them linked.

Obama said he would reject any short-term deal to raise the borrowing limit. Now the White House says he could make an exception.

He pledged to meet with congressional leaders every day until a deal was reached. But the daily meetings stopped or at least disappeared from his schedule. He did summon lawmakers to the White House for talks Saturday after the top House Republican walked out Friday night.

The AP goes out of its way to ascribe Obama's tactics as an intelligent sign of flexibility. To anyone who has successfully negotiated a deal of any importance, I say poppycock.

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