As a true-blue Democrat, Walter Rogers does not have a lot in common with people like Rush Limbaugh or Newt Gingrich.
But just like some on the right, Rogers is steadfast in his belief that there should be little compromise regarding the fiscal cliff.
Rogers was at the White House last week as part of delegation of community leaders from North Carolina to talk with Obama administration aides about the issue that threatens to plummet the recovering economy back into recession. Staff reporter Mary Katherine Murphy wrote a 1A article today on Rogers’ visit.
Rogers, chairman of the N.C. 8th Congressional District Black Leadership Caucus, wants the president to “stand tough” in his negotiations with Republicans, who want to cut spending, but also avoid raising taxes.
Both parties are aiming for a deal that cuts $4 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 10 years. On the spending side, neither party wants automatic across-the-board cuts that would come under sequestration, including 2 percent slashed from Medicare.
Barack Obama campaigned hard on a pledge to have the rich to “pay a little more.” Rogers said the 2012 election is an endorsement of that position. Rogers added that he has been disappointed in the past when the president has caved to Republicans.
“It is time for the president to stand tough,” said Rogers. “He was the one elected president. Republicans need to respect that and play the hand that they’ve been dealt.”
But the fact, is the GOP — at least rank and file Republicans — don’t seem to be willing to play at all. When House Speaker John Boehner offered a proposal to avert the impending fiscal cliff, conservatives attacked it as a betrayal of core principles.
Radio host Rush Limbaugh said Republicans should back out of negotiations with President Obama altogether.
“The way to handle that, the way to call his bluff on this is to not negotiate with him and leave it up to him what happens,” Limbaugh said.
Gingrich, the former GOP House speaker, went a step further.
“I think we ought to recognize this entire fiscal cliff is an artificial invention of Washington. he said. “I think this whole fiscal cliff language is designed to maximize a sense of fear that’s nonsense.”
It is unclear whether those are Gingrich’s true feelings, a ploy to grab headlines or just strategy. But Rogers seems just as unfazed by the idea of the fiscal cliff, saying he is ready to “roll off the cliff” if Republicans don’t want to make real compromises.
It is the kind of stalemate that all parties can believe in.