The Artlessness of the Deal

The weakest form of negotiation is to accept your opponent’s frame of reference. For instance, if I am in the market for a 1998 Nissan Sentra, I don’t counter-offer $35,000 if the seller is asking $40,000. As a party of opposing interests, his assessment of value or propriety is not the basis of mine. As a result, the range of my counter is developed independent of his position. So instead of something premised on his asking price, my offer is more likely to be something along the lines of a butane lighter and bag of beef jerky. And maybe the space between that and 40Gs is simply too vast. Though those who fail to understand this fundamental exercise are certain to bear the sucker’s brunt of every bargain.

I was thinking about this in context of how Trump and the republicans have mangled the “dreamer” debacle. Of course Republicans howled when Obama issued the edict, and Trump made its defenestration a centerpiece of his America-first campaign. If his spine were no stiffer than spray cheese, the President could have simply stopped issuing new applications and renewals and let the program wither on the vine. But conservatism only exists to defend liberal victories. And perhaps that includes the Trumpist variety as well.

Because both the president and congress now seem desperate to sanctify several million more hostile foreign democrats. I don’t know why politicians on the right persistently bad mouth Hate, when they’re so plainly eager to import more of it. I suppose the only way revanchist Mexicans could secure Paul Ryan’s disdain would be if they promised to become loyal republicans. Given that qualifier, we are assured his affections for them are safe.

And it appears those affections are now taking legislative form in the Succeed Act. You can read about this capitulation (or betrayal depending on whether your evaluation leans to cowards or thieves) here or here if inclined. In capsule, it is a republican plan to slow-walk amnesty to the echoing moans of Simpson-Mazzoli.

A bit more specifically, it carves out a 15 year path to citizenship, and denies the inevitable mass family migration until that time. You read that correct. Chain migration isn’t prohibited under this proposal, but merely delayed.

But the right (we’ll call these people “Americans”) is tossed a bone in the form of ferocious plans to restrict future illegal migration.

The bill would require future temporary visa holders — such as people who come to the United States on worker or student visas — to sign a waiver that would otherwise grant them an immigration hearing or other immigration-related benefits if they violate the terms of their visa.

Wow, Republicans aren’t playing around anymore. We’re done with your living here illegally bullshit. You see this waiver? Well sign it! If Africans knew cold, hard waivers were awaiting them in Italy, I imagine dinghies would be turning south by the dozens right now.

And that’s apparently what democrats are afraid of.

Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, argued that provisions barring the young immigrants from sponsoring relatives for green cards, as well as the waiver proposal, were “disturbing.”

Right, it’s not the foreign family’s fault they aren’t already here illegally. Why should they be punished? Also, we should clarify that “disturbing” is defined on the left as a thing which impedes Nicaraguans from living in Nebraska.

“None of these provisions are applied to other groups of admitted immigrants,” Sharry said. “Why, then, does this bill send this group of young Americans to the back of the bus?”

So then we shouldn’t admit them as immigrants, obviously. Though usually even the people at the back of the bus have a ticket. Where’s their’s?

But none of this is startling to any reader here. So I will return to the original topic. Take note of how republicans imprudently premise their position. Instead of independently assessing the value of the left’s demand, they concede the asking price from the outset, while seeking to shave pennies at the negotiating table.

The price to which they are conceding is ludicrous, but the price isn’t really the point. The bargain was lost the moment they accepted the left’s frame as their own reference. The left wanted dreamers legalized. That’s the $40,000 19 year-old Sentra. We’ll make them sign waivers is a $39,000 counter offer.

An independent evaluation would have produced a far different dialogue. Republicans are under no compulsion whatsoever to legalize millions of new democrats. I can’t toss my kids over Zuckerberg’s wall and expect they’ll wind up in his will. And neither can Jose and Maria. If the democrats were desperate for such an enormous accommodation, they should have been prepared to offer lavish concessions: Drastic cuts to legal immigration, ending myriad visa programs, funding the border wall, and an end to racial preferences in this “browning America,” as a start.

That was the rational republican baseline, not whatever pie-in-the-sky demand the left vomits on the table. Maybe the gulf between those positions could be crossed; maybe it couldn’t. But if the Dems weren’t willing to make bitter concessions on their behalf, then let the “dreamers” be advised of who failed them.

However, all this presumes we actually have parties of opposing interests. And that might be the biggest framing failure of all.


19 thoughts on “The Artlessness of the Deal

  1. Pingback: The Artlessness of the Deal | Reaction Times

  2. Were Trump just another politician, your pessimism would be within reason. But I believe he’s up to much more (skipping the “3D chess” bla bla) with his step-by-step approach on illegals/immigration:

    [Trump] “…can cut all the deals he likes with Pelosi and Schumer, but those deals will go nowhere without the GOP leadership, as they control the legislative agenda. The game was to embarrass Ryan and Mitchell. By making it look like the Democrats were willing to work with him, he forced the GOP to make its own moves on immigration. It’s petty, but it works.

    The other point of the exercise was to get people talking about immigration in a way that works in his favor. News stories about “dreamers” makes him look bad. He rightly figured that his voters would get mad over his rumored cave and they would take it out on the GOP leadership. It would also trigger the immigration patriots to fire off a million proposals for fixing immigration. From Trump’s perspective, turmoil is good as it gets his people fired up, looking for a fight and it forces the GOP leadership to respond.”


    To me, he’s setting the stage for numerous GOPe incumbents to “be primaried” by more Trump-supportive people (see: Roy Moore), by giving the illegal-friendly incumbents the rope to hang themselves. Remember Trump *actually* said (regarding his pow wow with Chuckie and Nancy) that they were looking at XYZ. That’s window shopping, and saying so is merely something that gives Dems false hopes.

    Skepticism is most always warranted, but such cynicism has the potential of going overboard to Tokyo Rose defeatism.

    • Skepticism is how stupid and destructive things are made less so.

      And it’s not mere pessimism when tangible bills are being presented right before your eyes. All the alleged psychological Trump kabuki in the world doesn’t change the process by which these become law.

      But none of that was the point of this post. That Trump and the GOP publicly approached this entire endeavor within the left’s negotiating frame is.

      • …and my point – in the context of your “negotiating frame” point – is that Capitol Hill members, by presenting said “tangible bills,” are digging their own graves for the near future. That’s on them, just as Trump asked them to do (I mean, if your enemy will self-destruct willingly, why go to the effort yourself?!).

        I do *not* see that Trump himself has approached things within their “frame;” I hear him using soothing platitudes, all while moving the goalposts and using switch and bait. He’s smart enough to know any sort of sell-out (pick your own phrase) would be instant political suicide, and I’m pretty sure he’s still the kind of guy who want to go down in the books as President as a “winner.” Patience is called for, in my opinion.

      • Patience is pretty much mandatory given we don’t have another vote for three years. And unless someone like Kris Kobach (who has a significantly lesser role in the current administration than about 17 Goldman alumni) runs, Trump will almost certainly get mine.

        However, I do see that he has approached DACA in the left’s frame. What I don’t see are recent examples to the contrary.

        Also I am possibly too dull to appreciate the double-switch-back strategy of encouraging Congress to pass a dreamer legalization bill so as to make them look bad. Would he then sign or reject the legislation he has specifically requested according to this gambit? Again, it’s over my head.

        But to my argument, the statements of Trump and the GOP should have remained rooted in the urgency and moral legitimacy of their positions rather than those of the democrats.

      • If we get cucked on immigration, the axe will swing all the way to the top in 2020. No one will buy the “don’t look at me, Congress did it” crap, if that’s what he’s planning to sell. It has been pointed out too many times, that he already has the power and mandate to end DACA – if he wants to. That he hasn’t, tells you he doesn’t.

      • The 88D Chess, insanely positive outlook: This week, he basically told all the NFL apes to stand and salute, or GTFO. Is he quietly working a deal to trade DACA (boo) for shipping all the niggers back to Africa (yay)? Too soon to tell. But you can never count out the GE. And tell me you wouldn’t take that deal even if it included a 98 Geo Metro.

      • It has been pointed out too many times, that he already has the power and mandate to end DACA – if he wants to. That he hasn’t, tells you he doesn’t.

        That’s the unavoidable fact. He said he was going to do it. He campaigned on doing it. He has the unquestioned authority to do it. And seven months into his presidency he’s tweeting this.

  3. He keeps begging me for more money. Fuck that. I was polled how I thought he was doing. I said that he wasn’t doing what he promised and there won’t be any more contributions. If enough of his supporters do the same, it will have results. The best that can be said at this point is that nobody’s talking about President Clinton.

  4. Give the Left an inch and they’ll take a hemisphere.
    Immigration can’t be seen as a mild nuisance and we can’t be ashamed of deportations. Immigration means the US becomes Venezuela, South Africa and El Salvador.

    Little victories are meaningless at this point.
    Trump won on the urgency of America First. He needs to stick to that message and let his base carry the momentum forward.
    If Congress thwarts him, then let Congress feel the brunt of angry voters, inspired by their President rather than betrayed and dejected for the hope of a few token wins.

    When the Left had a full house they passed ObamaCare. The right has a full house and it’s eyeing amnesty.

  5. Newer DACA recipients shouldn’t be punished for the deed of older DACA recipients – said the conservative surrender monkey.
    I saw some idiots collecting signatures for Jeff Flake at a gun show. Everyone I saw told the young Mormon minions to fuck off. That truly warmed my heart.

  6. My broken-record imitation (second only to my Chicken Little one) has that none of this will noticeably change until the 36 year (and still counting) period of magic debt ends. It underlies essentially everything we see that is toxic, from de-industrialization of the US (and consequent export of real jobs) to artificially fertilizing the endless service jobs being taken by immigrants legal and not. All of it paid for by simply issuing IOU’s by the mountain, all of those collateralized by the future of every American taxpayer (which, of course, is only about 20% or less of the residents of the USA.)

    I wish the digging would stop; we’re already in a hole so deep that we’re losing even the memory of sky, but all political inertia is still engaged on creating a shortcut to China, straight down through the planet. Every bit of encouragement given to Indians, Pakistanis, Guatemalans, Mexicans, Chinese, etc., etc., to come to the USA increases the size of the pyroclastic flow when this supervolcano of debt finally blows. Truly, they (our vaunted Masters) know not what they do. No one is going to benefit from this (with the possible exception of the gnomes who own the world’s central banks and who think that in the end, they’re going to foreclose on all of us. I doubt they’ll succeed.)

  7. Perhaps what the Treason Party of Lincoln is actually asking is this: “Do you want to shoot me now or later? Well I demand you shoot me now! So shoot me now!”
    Make no mistake. This isn’t a “representative government”. Its a whorehouse where taxpayers get screwed and the pimps tell you to learn to like it. Its time for them to feel THEIR PAIN.

  8. Here’s another example. Trump has cut the refugee intake in half from Obama’s 2017 target: over 100,000 to 53,000. That sounds quite positive…if you’re using the designs of Barack Obama as your frame of reference.

    But, as I’ve asserted, using your enemies’ frame of reference is how to lose quickly. If Obama had wanted 20 million refugees, I hope no one would have felt relieved to receive only 10 million. The proper frame for Trump on refugees wasn’t to ask how much less than 100,000, but how much more than zero. That’s working from your own baseline. And if he were to do that, what’s the logic of importing 53,000?

    The truth is that many of these “””refugees””” were already in the Obama supply chain. But the point is Obama’s position should have been dismissed out of hand, rather than being a basis for reduction.

    • Zero in 2017 isn’t even a win. Winning is sending Obama’s 100k (per year) all back. And Bush’s. #StillSickOfNotWinning
      Also, special cases should be made for notorious crimes. E.g. the Guyanese dindu (38x repeat offender) who home-invaded and murdered his boss and family in their upscale D.C. home, and was later caught by his DNA left on the pizza crust. Every one of the nearly-a-million goddamned Guyanese immigrants should have been deported over those murders. No questions asked, no answers given, no hearings, no trials. Knock-knock, who’s there, ICE, you have fifteen minutes to stuff your shit into this govt-issue duffel bag.
      That’s not who we are, but it’s who we need to be.

  9. what if; DJT is not a schemer at all. And his “DACA is ok” tweet is a simpletons response to the magnified MSM outcry to show compassion to the unfortunates caught up in their predicament. Someone tell me that’s not happening.

  10. Pingback: Porter Is Vastly Unamused – Daily Pundit

  11. Pingback: This Week In Reaction (2017/09/30) - Social Matter

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