The clever MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry yesterday did an extended segment on her show demonstrating how President Obama’s fiscal cliff negotiating strategy was “channeling” the negotiating style of The Godfather, Michael Corleone.
Harris-Perry showed clips from the landmark film and compared them to the president’s actions regarding the negotiations with Congress over the fiscal cliff. She said Obama is making the Republicans an offer “they better not refuse” with his proposal on the budget deal.
She showed House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio deriding the proposal the president has put on the table as “not a serious proposal.”“Aw, Mr. Boehner, you’ve got it all wrong,” Harris-Perry said, as the screen behind her flashed the movie poster from Francis Ford Coppola’s film. “It is a serious proposal,” she said. “Very serious. ‘Godfather’ serious.”
Harris-Perry joked that she isn’t trying to suggest that Obama is going to leave a severed horse’s head in Boehner’s bed, but she said the movie has “valuable negotiating lessons that the president “seems to be picking up on.”
She showed a picture of Obama having lunch with former opponent Mitt Romney and having meetings with Boehner and Republican leaders and said he was following the strategy of Corleone by “keeping his friends close, but keeping his enemies closer.”She said the other side won’t be able to make the claim that he was unavailable.
She showed Obama making speeches to the public, selling them on the wisdom of his position to protect the middle class tax cuts while increasing taxes on the wealthy. To Harris-Perry, that was Obama’s version of the Corleone warning, “Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again.”
She said he was throwing down the terms of the deal he wants—$1.6 trillion tax increase on corporations and the wealthy, a proposed $50 billion a deferral in cuts to Medicare physicians—and making it clear that he won’t budge.
“Once these details were made public,” she said, “it became apparent that the president is, indeed, a student of the don.”
Because the Bush-era tax cuts will expire, revenue will go up, and the debt will be reduced if no deal is reached, Harris-Perry said the president realizes he is “holding all the cards here.”