Biden the healer

Biden the healer

by digby

Here's a good piece by Noam Scheiber about what happened in the 2011 budget negotiations.  I bring it up for those who buy this morning's Village meme that Joe Biden is the man who can bring the country together.  If by bringing it together you mean getting hosed in negotiations with Republicans you might be right. The budget battles of 2011 were the lowest point of the Obama presidency and are the ugliest part of his domestic legacy. And no thanks to Biden.  Indeed, if it hadn't been for the loons on the right who simply didn't know what a fantastic deal they were being offered, if he'd had his way it would have been a whole lot worse. 

It turns out Obama made a critical if underappreciated mistake in the final hours of the back and forth: sending Joe Biden to haggle with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell once McConnell's talks with his Democratic counterpart, Harry Reid, had broken down.

From my after-the-fact discussions with Democratic aides in the House and Senate leadership, it’s clear that Reid had a plan for resolving the cliff and considered the breakdown of his talks with McConnell very much a part of it. By involving Biden, Obama undercut Reid and signaled that he wanted a deal so badly he was unwilling to leave anything to chance, even when the odds overwhelmingly favored him. It suggested that even if Obama plays his cards exceedingly well in the run-up to the debt-limit showdown, he could still come away with a worse deal than he deserves because of his willingness to make concessions in the closing moments.

Here’s what happened near the end of the cliff talks, as I understand it.

Read on for the details. In recent years Reid has banned Biden from negotiations and for good reason

But it is true, the Republicans love the guy so I'm sure Villagers are thrilled:
Mr. Cantor said he hoped the president would engage Mr. Biden more, recalling when the vice president negotiated a deal with presumptive Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, to head off the so-called “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and spending cuts at the end of 2012.

“Hopefully, I think the president may see the light and say if you want to get a deal done, bring in the deal man, Joe Biden,” he said.
Yeah, let's bring in the "deal man".