Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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Let’s Make a Deal – A Negotiator’s View

I negotiate for a living. Contracts and pricing. That’s where I live. Sometimes you have great leverage but many times you don’t. And when you can’t walk away and your leverage is compromised, you try to get the best deal you can. Sure, it’s easy for the idealist to say, “I would have never accepted that deal. I would have gotten more.” But let me tell you, when the database is crashing and it’s preventing manufacturing from getting the widgets out and your single sourced with a vendor, you start agreeing to a whole slew of terms and conditions you would have never dreamed of previously. Because the CEO doesn’t much care if you get net 60 payment terms when he can’t ship his widgets and his revenue is tanking.

And so it is with the debt negotiations. Republicans have the House. Democrats have the Senate, the Presidency, and the media. So, no, conservative idealists everywhere, we aren’t going to get it all, not this round. So, let’s focus on getting the best deal we can. And then let’s focus on defeating President Obama and taking the Senate. Then, *then*, we will have all the leverage and that’s when we’ve got them right where we want them. That’s when you go for the big one.  If you push for purity, you may end up dividing and weakening your party, losing the public and compromising your position in November. It’s time to play the long game and time to dump the purity.

takkat | @kberbel
"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." ~Flannery O'Connor

7 COMMENTS

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7 COMMENTS

  1. You advice assumes that the GOP’s leverage is compromised and their position is tanking, but I disagree wholeheartedly with that assumption. I think the GOP had, and has, a very strong hand, and misplayed it spectacularly.

  2. I’m of two minds on this question. Yes, I wanted the limits pushed. Boehner was being pushed by the TP. In the end, I think he was working from fear and that did him in.

    We just have to win more elections. With a new speaker and the senate, then we shall see.

  3. I think the jury is out til Aug 2. On the practical level of negotiation appearances, as far as Joe Six Pack and the American public is concerned, Boehner just did a “tag you’re it” on Reid & the Dems. No response from them now, or flat “no deal” is not acceptable. We will see how the Dems handle it both PRwise and substantively over the weekend.

  4. If confidence in both government and our economy wasn’t so low, I might agree with this. But because of those factors, Repubs are going to have to prove themselves to the general public that they can be and will be trustworthy when it comes to fighting the kind of battles that might let us rein in excessive government spending. And please note that I referenced “fighting”, not necessarily “winning”.

    If Repubs succeed in this, then they are more likely to find themselves with very vocal, enthusiastic support that could let them win the elections next year.

    So far, Repubs have been too busy compromising and “playing politics” to do what it will take to actually earn and gain the confidence of the general public.

    They may end up having voters who choose to vote Repub on a “lesser of two evils” basis, but it won’t be a truly positive kind of support that would sweep Congress against Obama and the Dems. That’s where the difference lies.

  5. Democrats are not bargaining in good faith. When you are negotiating with someone who actually wants to find a meeting point then your points are valid. But if your opponent refuses to find a meeting point in the negotiations and uses outside pressure to force you to capitulate to his demands, that is not the time for ordinary negotiating strategy. That is the time to see this for what it is, a war. In a war you hold the line and make whatever advances you can. Negotiations become a delaying tactic. And if you want to move things along you don’t negotiate at all, but take your case to your people another way.

  1. You advice assumes that the GOP’s leverage is compromised and their position is tanking, but I disagree wholeheartedly with that assumption. I think the GOP had, and has, a very strong hand, and misplayed it spectacularly.

  2. I’m of two minds on this question. Yes, I wanted the limits pushed. Boehner was being pushed by the TP. In the end, I think he was working from fear and that did him in.

    We just have to win more elections. With a new speaker and the senate, then we shall see.

  3. I think the jury is out til Aug 2. On the practical level of negotiation appearances, as far as Joe Six Pack and the American public is concerned, Boehner just did a “tag you’re it” on Reid & the Dems. No response from them now, or flat “no deal” is not acceptable. We will see how the Dems handle it both PRwise and substantively over the weekend.

  4. If confidence in both government and our economy wasn’t so low, I might agree with this. But because of those factors, Repubs are going to have to prove themselves to the general public that they can be and will be trustworthy when it comes to fighting the kind of battles that might let us rein in excessive government spending. And please note that I referenced “fighting”, not necessarily “winning”.

    If Repubs succeed in this, then they are more likely to find themselves with very vocal, enthusiastic support that could let them win the elections next year.

    So far, Repubs have been too busy compromising and “playing politics” to do what it will take to actually earn and gain the confidence of the general public.

    They may end up having voters who choose to vote Repub on a “lesser of two evils” basis, but it won’t be a truly positive kind of support that would sweep Congress against Obama and the Dems. That’s where the difference lies.

  5. Democrats are not bargaining in good faith. When you are negotiating with someone who actually wants to find a meeting point then your points are valid. But if your opponent refuses to find a meeting point in the negotiations and uses outside pressure to force you to capitulate to his demands, that is not the time for ordinary negotiating strategy. That is the time to see this for what it is, a war. In a war you hold the line and make whatever advances you can. Negotiations become a delaying tactic. And if you want to move things along you don’t negotiate at all, but take your case to your people another way.

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