MSNBC's Wolffe Suggests Obama 'Reasonable' & 'Grownup,' GOP 'Irresponsible Children'

 On Friday’s Last Word on MSNBC, as host Lawrence O’Donnell brought up his belief - explored more thoroughly earlier in the show - that President Obama had succeeded in a strategy to appear to be the "reasonable man willing to make compromises" without actually having to make those concessions, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe at first seemed to buy into O’Donnell’s "cynical" theory of Obama’s true intentions, but the MSNBC analyst also suggested that Obama was indeed being "reasonable" and "the grownup in the room." He went on to suggest that Republicans were not being "responisible’ or a "serious party about deficits," and that they were behaving as "irresponsible children."

Wolffe asserted: "  the TThe White House has planned this out for many months, not just weeks here. First of all, they wanted to do the deal. They wanted to be reasonable, not just look reasonable. They wanted to reach out and find the common ground and deal with deficits because it's the right thing to do."

He added that Obama had managed to "test the proposition that Republicans have laid out that they were the serious party about deficits, to see whether they could actually have any kind of leadership, be responsible," and concluded:

But, yes, in terms of being the grownup in the room, he's there. If a deal had gone through, I would argue that actually being a grownup in the room doesn't help you because irresponsible children know that there's always someone to bail them out. In this case, the collapse of the bigger deal actually in some short term - and it is just a short term aspect - helps the President. The long term, of course, it hurts all of us.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, July 22, Last Word on MSNBC:

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, I’ve been suggesting for the last couple of weeks that there were just too many incentives to get nothing here, and that nothing was a very likely outcome under the circumstance. The President has successfully portrayed himself as the reasonable man willing to make compromises that were very painful for him, and, in the end, he doesn’t have to make any painful compromises at all because John Boehner walks out, the deal’s blown up, and there’s the President, the last man standing asking to be perceived as the reasonable man. I think he’s won that perception. How does it look to you?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, you know, the White House - by the way, it’s very cynical and it also turns out quite realistic of you to think, by the way - yeah, look, the White House has planned this out for many months, not just weeks here. First of all, they wanted to do the deal. They wanted to be reasonable, not just look reasonable. They wanted to reach out and find the common ground and deal with deficits because it’s the right thing to do. But, in the event of failure, which they kind of suspected would happen, this was the most favorable outcome for them, which is to test the proposition that Republicans have laid out that they were the serious party about deficits, to see whether they could actually have any kind of leadership, be responsible. There’s one more hoop for them to jump through in terms of responsibility, of course, because we do still have this whole debt ceiling crisis to get through. But, yes, in terms of being the grownup in the room, he’s there. If a deal had gone through, I would argue that actually being a grownup in the room doesn’t help you because irresponsible children know that there’s always someone to bail them out. In this case, the collapse of the bigger deal actually in some short term - and it is just a short term aspect - helps the President. The long term, of course, it hurts all of us.