Obama Girds for GOP Confrontation

Chip Somodevilla / AP Photo

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 19: U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement about his proposed federal deficit reduction plan in the Rose Garden at the White House September 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. The proposed plan, which uses entitlement cuts, tax increases and war savings to reduce the federal deficit by more than $3 trillion over the next 10 years, is already facing opposition from Republicans in Congress.

President Obama may finally have given “the professional left” what it wanted: His speech Monday calling for deficit reduction was “the clearest sign yet that Obama has taken a very sharp populist turn as he seeks to frame the contrast between the parties heading into 2012,” Greg Sargent writes at The Washington Post. Whereas the president, previously, has made clear at the start of negotiations his willingness to cede ground on core liberal principles, now he is standing by them and actively seeking a confrontation with Republicans over them. Sargent points out that Obama’s gambit isn’t only to please his liberal base; it’s to win over independents too, who largely support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.