Saturday morning on MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry,” host Melissa Harris-Perry said that President Barack Obama is “playing Godfather” by making the Republicans an offer “they better not refuse” on the looming issue of the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
Author and Tulane University professor Harris-Perry opened the segment by discussing the fact that Saturday, December 1 marked the beginning of the last 30 days that Congress and the White House have to reach some kind of bargain on the “fiscal cliff” looming January 1.
“And the drama is building,” said Harris-Perry, rolling a clip of House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) panning the Obama administration’s spending plan.
Boehner said the Democratic plan was “not a serious proposal.”
“Aw, Mr. Boehner, you’ve got it all wrong,” Harris-Perry said, as the screen behind her flashed the image of the movie poster from Francis Ford Coppola’s film, The Godfather. “It is a serious proposal,” she continued, “very serious. ‘Godfather’ serious.”
She went on to say that while she isn’t suggesting that Speaker Boehner is going to wake up next to a severed horse head any time soon, but minus the gore, the film, she said, teaches “valuable negotiating lessons” that the president “seems to be picking up on.”
The president, she said, is “keeping his friends close, but keeping his enemies closer,” having former opponent Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) over for white turkey chili this week and having meeting after meeting with the GOP leadership. In this way, Obama is doing away with any pretense that he is stonewalling the Republicans or being unavailable.
Obama is also warning his own caucus, “Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again,” as well as reaching out to voters recently energized by the election to reach out to Congress and let their feelings be known about the fiscal cliff.
The president, said Harris-Perry, “like Michael Corleone” was laying out his terms for Republicans, a $1.6 trillion tax increase on corporations and the wealthy, a proposed $50 billion a deferral in cuts to Medicare physicians.
“Once these details were made public,” she said and Obama made it clear that he wasn’t budging, “it became apparent that the president is, indeed, a student of the don.”
While the consequences of the fiscal cliff are real, she said, politically, the president is “holding all the cards, here,” because even if no deal is reached and the Bush-era tax cuts expire, revenue will go up, reducing the debt and improving the economy’s health.
Watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below: