Nobody Knows What Will Happen In The Lame Duck If Obama Is Re-Elected

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Oct. 19 2012 4:50 PM

Nobody Knows What Will Happen In The Lame Duck If Obama Is Re-Elected

Like everyone else in journalism, I'm curious as to what will happen in the lame duck session if Obama gets re-elected. Will Obama refuse to compromise and gain enormous leverage as the Bush tax cuts expire, or will he endeavor to strike a grand bargain?

Over the course of this week I've read a number of pieces by different writers which claim to speak quite confidently to the question of the administration's strategy. I, meanwhile, have acted a bit out of character and tried to do meaningful reporting on this over the past month. Maybe I'm just really bad at it (seriously), but my  conclusion is that nobody knows what the administration will try to do. Not "no journalists know" but literally nobody. There is no plan. That's because even though plenty of people on the Hill and in the executive branch have spent plenty of time trying to game this out, but the decision has to be made at the very highest levels. And the top elected officials—not least the President—have been busy with the campaign. And this isn't the kind of decision you make without chewing it over with your political operatives and they, too, are busy with the campaign.

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When the election is over, presumably everyone will go get drunk and then spend a day or two asleep. After that, they're gonna have to have some meetings. But for now, there are lots of people with opinions about lame duck strategy but nobody has the real answers because the decisions just haven't been made.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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